A Case of Plagiarism.. 6

Lesser Light vs Greater Light issue. 13

Degrees of Inspiration: Canonical vs Noncanonical 15

A Case of Infallibility and Biblical Models of Inspiration. 18

When are we supposed to quote EGW?. 21

Why did EGW have Editors?. 30

Why did we have changes in EGW Books when she was still alive?. 33


Handling Marriage Problems. 35

James White view of Ellen White. 35

The Soldier Rests. 38

The Story of “An Appeal to the Youth” 39

No one is immune when it comes to Parenting. 40

The Early Life. 43

70yrs of ministerial work without any idle moments. 45

Enduring Slander. 47

As a Counselor. 47

Principled Humor. 49


Counsels on the Age of joining School 51

Counsels on Health and Medical Missionary Work. 52

A Denominational Curse. 55

Proven Effective Methods of Evangelism.. 57

Confounding the Doubters. 59

Dangers of Centralization and Hierarchical Structures. 61

Lessons and Experiences of Faith. 62


The Holy Flesh Movement then and now – The Nature of Christ 65

The History of Pantheism.. 67


How should the Ministry be sustained and who Qualifies?. 70

About the Church and Unity. 70


How EGW Published and Sold her Books and Why. 72

As a Medical Missionary. 75

How to Execute Isaiah 58. 76


God’s Purpose in the Great Controversy. 78

The Sanctuary. 78

The Law and the Gospel 79

The Relationship between the Old and New Covenants. 79

Doctrinal Correctness. 80

Limited Views of the Atonement 80

Misapprehension of the Character of God. 82

Spiritualism the Foundation of all False Doctrines. 83

The Punishment of Idolaters. 83

Uzzah. 85

Theory of Eternal Torment Opposite Extreme. 86

Punishment of Korah. 86

Sin Against the Holy Ghost 87

The Days of Noah – MR No. 963. 87

God’s Kingdom is not left to Satan to Execute Judgment 88

A Sabbath-breaker – Numbers 15:22-36. 89

Punishment of Jericho. 89

The Last Conflict of the Great Controversy. 90

The Seven Last Plagues and the Judgment 90

Jesus Came to Reveal God! 91

Our True Identity and the Last Church. 92

Dealing with Health Fanaticism Fanatics. 92

EGW on the Vaccines: 92

EGW and A Doctor’s Prescription. 94

Cleanliness. 96

The 33 Principles of the Otsego Health Vision in June 6, 1863: 96

In the Days of Ignorance. 97

The Crawling Third Angel’s Message. 98

Intemperance in Working – Case Study of James White. 100

Every home to be a Medical Missionary Centre. 105

Health Reform.. 106

How to Implement Health Reform.. 108

Ellen White and Flesh Diet 110

A “step-by-step” Journey?. 112

Ellen White and Accusation of Hypocrisy. 115

Hazards of some foods, Replacement and Classification. 117

Principle Guides for the Third Angel’s Message. 122

Prenatal and Antenatal care viz Character Formation. 124

Drugs and Birth Defects. 124

First years of a Child’s Life. 125

True Education and its Purpose. 126


Ignorant Slave not to be Resurrected. 131

The 1844 Hand over the Chart 132

Scientific Accuracy. 132

Amalgamation. 133

Cause of Volcanoes. 134





There are a lot of subjects that the Lord used Ellen White to bring to our understanding. The problem has been that her writings are not read in context and historical background. In this compilation, I have taken some excerpts from Herbert Douglass’ book, “Messenger of the Lord”, and various resources bringing to you various subjects and how the pioneers and the people who lived in her time understood them. This will help us avoid running into extremism and fanaticism. This is a compilation from her diaries, notebook leaflets, life sketches and reports. I pray that we shall be edified by this. Seventh day Adventists have been blessed by a wealth of information from Ellen White pen but there are like the high priest who held Jesus in his hands, dedicated him but never knew who he was. Having her writings and not knowing how to use them can just be compared to the scenario of the high priest. The high priest did not know Jesus when he dedicated him, what a blindness had fallen upon this nation?! He inscribed the name Jesus in the roll yet had no clue who he was holding in his hands!


  • THE DEDICATION OF THE FIRST-BORN HAD ITS ORIGIN IN THE EARLIEST TIMES. GOD HAD PROMISED TO GIVE THE FIRST-BORN OF HEAVEN TO SAVE THE SINNER. This gift was to be acknowledged in every household by the consecration of the first-born son. He was to be devoted to the priesthood, as a representative of Christ among men. In the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, the dedication of the first-born was again commanded. While the children of Israel were in bondage to the Egyptians, the Lord directed Moses to go to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and say, “Thus saith the Lord, Israel is My son, even My first-born: and I say unto thee, Let My son go, that he may serve Me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy first-born.” Exodus 4:22, 23. Moses delivered his message; but the proud king’s answer was, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.” Exodus 5:2. The Lord worked for His people by signs and wonders, sending terrible judgments upon Pharaoh. At length the destroying angel was bidden to slay the first-born of man and beast among the Egyptians. That the Israelites might be spared, they were directed to place upon their doorposts the blood of a slain lamb. Every house was to be marked, that when the angel came on his mission of death, he might pass over the homes of the Israelites. After sending this judgment upon Egypt, the Lord said to Moses, “Sanctify unto Me all the first-born, . . . both of man and of beast: it is Mine;” “for on the day that I smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto Me all the first-born in Israel, both man and beast: Mine shall they be: I am the Lord.” Exodus 13:2; Numbers 3:13. After the tabernacle service was established, the Lord chose the tribe of Levi in the place of the first-born of all Israel to minister in the sanctuary. But the first-born were still to be regarded as the Lord’s, and were to be bought back by a ransom. THUS THE LAW FOR THE PRESENTATION OF THE FIRST-BORN WAS MADE PARTICULARLY SIGNIFICANT. While it was a memorial of the Lord’s wonderful deliverance of the children of Israel, it prefigured a greater deliverance, to be wrought out by the only-begotten Son of God. As the blood sprinkled on the doorposts had saved the first-born of Israel, so the blood of Christ has power to save the world. {DA 51.1-5}




  • The Shekinah had departed from the sanctuary, but in the Child of Bethlehem was veiled the glory before which angels bow. THIS UNCONSCIOUS BABE WAS THE PROMISED SEED, TO WHOM THE FIRST ALTAR AT THE GATE OF EDEN POINTED. This was Shiloh, the peace giver. It was He who declared Himself to Moses as the I AM. It was He who in the pillar of cloud and of fire had been the guide of Israel. This was He whom seers had long foretold. He was the Desire of all nations, the Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning Star. THE NAME OF THAT HELPLESS LITTLE BABE, INSCRIBED IN THE ROLL OF ISRAEL, DECLARING HIM OUR BROTHER, WAS THE HOPE OF FALLEN HUMANITY. THE CHILD FOR WHOM THE REDEMPTION MONEY HAD BEEN PAID WAS HE WHO WAS TO PAY THE RANSOM FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD. HE WAS THE TRUE “HIGH PRIEST OVER THE HOUSE OF GOD,” the head of “an unchangeable priesthood,” the intercessor at “the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Hebrews 10:21; 7:24; 1:3. {DA 52.3}





God communicated His messages not through mechanical dictation but through acts and words that men and women could understand. The prophets who heard God speak directly to them conveyed these messages through the thought processes of their day, and through the idioms and analogies that their hearers could understand.


Understanding the revelation/inspiration process correctly prevents distressful concern when people see in the Gospels clear differences between reports of the same event, even the same messages of Jesus. Nothing disturbs some sincere students more than to observe the different ways Bible writers describe the same event, “quote” the same conversation, or report the parables of Jesus. Even having two versions of the Lord’s Prayer, as recorded in Matthew 6 and Luke 11, upsets those who mistakenly believe that the Bible writers wrote, word for word, as the Holy Spirit dictated.


  • Verbal, inerrant inspiration implies that the prophet is a recording machine, transmitting mechanically and unerringly God’s message. Belief in mechanical inspiration forbids differences in reporting a message or event. Verbal inspiration requires prophets to transmit the exact words supplied by the heavenly Guide even as a court stenographer types what is being said by the witnesses. No room is given to prophets to use their own individuality (and limitations) in expressing the truths revealed to them.


One of the obvious problems for those who believe in verbal inspiration is what to do in translating the Bible, either from Old Testament Hebrew/Aramaic or New Testament Greek, into other languages.


Another problem is Matthew 27:9, 10 where Matthew refers to Jeremiah rather than Zechariah 11:12 as the Old Testament source for a messianic prophecy. This might be a copyist’s mistake. But if it is Matthew’s, it is a human mistake any teacher or minister might make, a mistake that will cause no problem for thought inspirationists. Why? Because thought inspirationists know what Matthew meant!


Or, what did Pilate actually write on the sign placed on Christ’s cross? Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:26, Luke 23:38, and John 19:19 report the sign differently. To thought inspirationists, the message is clear; to verbal inspirationists, a problem! MOL 16.2 – MOL 16.7


A Case of Plagiarism

When God speaks to prophets He does not install a dictionary or an encyclopedia in their minds. Prophets take the inspired message and do their best to convey that message in language and thought forms that will do justice to the message. Some (such as Peter) needed others to help them with their grammar; others (such as Luke) gathered as much as they could from contemporary sources in order to set forth the truth that burned within them. Paul used contemporary writers to better establish contact with his Grecian audiences.


Old Testament writers often depended on oral reports or earlier documents in preparing their messages. Moses did not need visions to describe the story of his birth or to recount the historical narratives he placed in Genesis. The books of Joshua and Judges were probably compiled during David’s monarchy, according to internal evidence. The authors of Kings and Chronicles obviously used sources that they often referenced. In fact, the authors at times quoted from other Old Testament books without crediting their sources: compare 2 Kings 19:1, 2 with Isaiah 37:1, 2, and 1 Chronicles 10:1-3 with l Sam. 31:1-3.


The New Testament presents many instances of borrowing from non-Biblical sources, such as the Wisdom of Solomon, 1 Enoch, Testimonies of the Twelve Patriarchs, and the Palestinian Targums.


Ellen White forthrightly explained why she used various historians as she traced “the history of the controversy in past ages.” She wrote: “In pursuance of this purpose, I have endeavored to select and group together events in the history of the church in such a manner as to trace the unfolding of the great testing truths that at different periods have been given to the world.”


  • How did she use these historians? She noted: “In some cases where a historian has so grouped together events as to afford, in brief, a comprehensive view of the subject, or has summarized details in a convenient manner, his words have been quoted; but in some instances no specific credit has been given, since the quotations are not given for the purpose of citing that writer as authority, but because his statement affords a ready and forcible presentation of the subject. In narrating the experience and views of those carrying forward the work of reform in our own time, similar use has been made of their published works.” MOL 378.7 – MOL 379.4


As all prophets did, Ellen White had to supply the human language to convey the grand thoughts and arching panoramas that she either saw in vision or sensed in other times of divine communication. Her capacity to supply appropriate language and style matured as the years went by—as any study of her personal manuscripts and published writings will indicate. At times she recognized that others had written with beauty and precision on certain subjects that she wanted to make clearer in her writings. To better clothe those divinely revealed truths she utilized borrowed expressions. Speed truth along with as much human grace as possible was her compelling motivation.


Some have raised two questions regarding both Biblical writers and Ellen White: How does borrowing affect the authority of the writer? Does the borrowed material become inspired? The questions arise because inspiration is misunderstood as mechanical dictation (verbal inspiration).


  • Probably the two questions would not be asked if it were understood that prophets are permitted to find the best methods at their disposal to convey the thoughts God has given them.


What, then, is the value of the borrowed material? It seems logical that if God revealed His message to prophets, He would also assist them in conveying the message in human language. Ellen White noted that God “guided the mind in the selection of what to speak and what to write. The treasure was entrusted to earthen vessels, yet it is, nonetheless, from Heaven.”


  • In a way, God did not expect the Biblical writer to “reinvent the wheel.” He led Paul to borrow from the apocrypha in developing a substantial part of Romans 1. He led him to find useful material, at least to hearers in his day, in the Jewish Targums (Aramaic translation or paraphrase of a portion of the Old Testament) in developing 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 and 2 Timothy 3:8. He led John to find generous help from contemporary sources such as the Targums and 1 Enoch. If the language already available seemed to help the Biblical author to speed his message preparation along, he prudently borrowed for his purpose. No doubt many of his contemporaries recognized quickly from where the writer had borrowed his material. To the receivers of the prophet’s message, such borrowing was no problem: they saw the big picture of the writer’s message.


Likely many in Christ’s day recognized His references to extra-Biblical sources that He used to develop His messages—messages that were truly original.


But His use of sources had nothing to do with the authority or originality of His messages.


  • Does borrowed material become inspired? Only in the sense that it assists the writer to state his message more clearly. This may lead to another question: Why did not Paul and John give credit to the authors of the borrowed material? Perhaps they believed, as did Ellen White, that “every gleam of thought, every flash of intellect, is from the Light of the world.” This conviction that God is the Author of all truth may have been one reason for not feeling the need to reference their frequent borrowings. MOL 379.5 – MOL 380.2


Prophets obviously mix common, everyday information with the divine message. When Paul referred to contemporaries with appreciation, that was not the divine message. When he asked Timothy to find the cloak and books that he had left at Troas and to “come before winter,” that was common, everyday talk (2 Timothy 4:9-21). When we read the genealogy of the families of Israel since Adam, we are reading common historical information, not a message given by revelation. (1 Chronicles 1-8).


  • Ellen White recognized this distinction between ordinary information and the divine message: “There are times when common things must be stated, common thoughts must occupy the mind, common letters must be written and information given that has passed from one to another of the workers. Such words, such information, are not given under the special inspiration of the Spirit of God. Questions are asked at times that are not upon religious subjects at all, and these questions must be answered. We converse about houses and lands, trades to be made, and locations for our institutions, their advantages and disadvantages.”


This distinction appeared in a 1909 letter where Ellen White was “troubled” about the former manager of the Paradise Valley Sanitarium, E. S. Ballenger. She wrote that Ballenger was “denying the testimonies as a whole because of what seems to him an inconsistency—a statement made by me in regard to the number of rooms in the Paradise Valley Sanitarium.” In an earlier letter she had commented that the sanitarium had forty rooms, when it had only thirty-eight. MOL 380.3 – MOL 380.5


  • She continued: “The information given concerning the number of rooms in the Paradise Valley Sanitarium was given, not as a revelation from the Lord, but simply as a human opinion. There has never been revealed to me the exact number of rooms in any of our sanitariums; and the knowledge I have obtained of such things I have gained by inquiring of those who were supposed to know…. For one to mix the sacred with the common is a great mistake. In a tendency to do this we may see the working of the enemy to destroy souls.”


Students of prophetic writings should know how to separate the sacred from the common. Sometimes the question is asked in terms of what is inspired and what is not. (Obviously the distinction should not be based on whether we agree with a particular portion of a prophet’s writings.) The 1909 incident regarding rooms at the Paradise Valley Sanitarium is one example of a “common” reference. Other examples are found in Mrs. White’s hundreds of letters wherein she spoke of the weather, shopping lists, the garden, or her grandchildren. But sooner or later she would direct the reader’s thought to his or her spiritual needs or some church activity. That shift would be a clear signal to readers that they were now listening to a message that went beyond “common” themes.


  • Only a small percentage of Ellen White’s published writings deal with “common” topics, as anyone may readily see. She could write: “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.’ It is true concerning the articles in our papers and in the many volumes of my books.”


Mrs. White makes no distinction between the inspiration of her books, articles, or letters when they are giving spiritual counsel. This eliminates the position some have made that only her books are inspired. Those taking that position forget that much in her books was first written in article form.


Further, it is clearly the case that Bible writers “mixed” extra-Biblical sources with their vision-based messages. One cannot then dismiss a prophet’s work simply because some portion of the book contains material from sources other than divine revelation. If prophets include the writings of others to better express truth, that material is not understood as merely “common” in the sense we have been using the term. MOL 380.6 – MOL 381.3


“The work of explaining the Bible by the Bible itself is the work that should be done by all our ministers who are fully awake to the times in which we live.”


In her personally written introduction to The Great Controversy, Ellen White recorded how “the scenes of the long-continued conflict between good and evil” had been revealed to her: “From time to time I have been permitted to behold the working, in different ages, of the great controversy between Christ … and Satan.” MOL 386.1 – MOL 386.2


How did she “behold” these mighty scenes? She continued: “As the Spirit of God has opened to my mind the great truths of His word, and the scenes of the past and the future, I have been bidden to make known to others that which has thus been revealed.”


  • How much detail did she see? The evidence is that she saw the great “scenes” but that the details involving dates, perhaps even geographical sites, she did not always “see.” The same was true for Isaiah as he struggled for words to describe the throne of God (Isaiah 6) and for Daniel as he tried to describe the awesome visions of beasts and horns, etc. Ellen White saw the big picture, the basic concepts, the overall sweep of the forces of good and evil played out in human history. Her task was to “fill in” this big picture through research in the Biblical story and in common sources of historical information.


Just as God did not give Daniel words to describe the beasts of Daniel 7, so He did not give Ellen White the historical dates and events to fill in the great controversy story. Even as Luke searched out the best sources to complete his Life of Christ (Luke 1:1-4), so Mrs. White did what all prophets do when they had a message that had to be conveyed in human words and comprehended by historically oriented men and women. Thus, we look to Luke, not necessarily for historical accuracy for all statements made, but for his contribution to the big picture, the message about the ministry of Jesus. MOL 386.3 – MOL 386.5


  • Would there be instances of possible errors? Probably. Henry Alford, the highly respected author of New Testament for English Readers, wrote: “Two men may be equally led by the Holy Spirit to record the events of our Lord’s life for our edification, though one may believe, and record, that the visit to the Gadarenes took place before the calling of Matthew, while the other places it after that event; though one in narrating it speaks of two demoniacs—the other, only of one….


  • “And not only of the arrangement of the Evangelic history are these remarks to be understood. There are certain minor points of accuracy or inaccuracy, of which human research suffices to inform men, and on which, from want of that research, it is often the practice to speak vaguely and inexactly. Such are sometimes the conventionally received distances from place to place; such are the common accounts of phenomena in natural history, etc. Now in matters of this kind, the Evangelists and Apostles were not supernaturally informed, but left, in common with others, to the guidance of their natural faculties…. The treasure is ours, in all its richness: but it is ours as only it can be ours—in the imperfections of human speech, in the limitations of human thought, in the variety incident first to individual character, and then to manifold transcription and the lapse of ages.”


  • In other words, the human phase of the divine-human communication system will be beset with occasional discrepancies—simply because of human finiteness. Stephen’s eloquent sermon (Acts 7) contains an incidental reference to the number (75) of Jacob’s family who went into Egypt to live with Joseph. However, the Genesis reference (46:27) states that 70 of Jacob’s family went into Egypt. What shall we make of this difference? If we believe that Genesis is the only historical source that Jews in the first century had for this information, then we simply understand that the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Prophecy) guided Stephen in reciting the big picture, but did not intervene on details. Prophets do not necessarily become “authorities” on historical data. Their inspirational value lies in their messages, not in some of the details that are incidental to the big picture. MOL 386.6 – MOL 387.2


  • “Mother has never laid claim to verbal inspiration, and I do not find that my father, or Elder Bates, Andrews, Smith, or Waggoner put forth this claim. If there were verbal inspiration in writing her manuscripts, why should there be on her part the work of addition or adaptation? It is a fact that Mother often takes one of her manuscripts, and goes over it thoughtfully, making additions that develop the thought still further….


“Mother’s contact with European people had brought to her mind scores of things that had been presented to her in vision during past years, some of them two or three times, and other scenes many times. Her seeing of historic places and her contact with the people refreshed her memory with reference to these things, and so she desired to add much material to the book The Great Controversy .”


  • A few months later, W. C. White wrote to S. N. Haskell, a stalwart pioneer who leaned dangerously toward a verbal-inspiration viewpoint at that time: “Regarding Mother’s writings, she has never wished our brethren to treat them as authority on the dates or details of history. When ‘Great Controversy’ was written, she oftentimes gave a partial description of some scene presented to her, and when Sister Davis made inquiry regarding time and place, Mother referred to what was already written in the books of Uriah Smith and in secular histories. When ‘Controversy’ was written, Mother never thought that the readers would take it as authority on historical dates and use it to settle controversies, and she does not now feel that it ought to be used in that way …. MOL 387.6 – MOL 388.2


“It seems to me that there is a danger of placing altogether too much stress upon chronology. If it had been essential to the salvation of men that he human beings should have a clear and harmonious understanding of the chronology of the world, the Lord would not have permitted the disagreements and discrepancies which we find in the writings of the Bible historians, and it seems to me that in these last days there ought not to be so much controversy regarding dates…. I believe, Brother Haskell, that there is danger of our injuring Mother’s work by claiming for it more than she claims for it, more than Father ever claimed for it, more than Elder J. N. Andrews, J. H. Waggoner, or Uriah Smith ever claimed for it.”


That same day, W. C. White wrote a virtually identical letter to W. W. Eastman, publishing director at the Southern Publishing Association. But in closing the letter, he added: “I have overwhelming evidence and conviction that they are the descriptions and delineation of what God has revealed to her in vision, and where she has followed the descriptions of historians or the expositions of Adventist writers, I believe that God has given her discernment to use that which is correct and in harmony with truth regarding all matters essential to salvation. If it should be found by faithful study that she has followed some exposition of prophecy which in some detail regarding dates we cannot harmonize with our understanding of secular history, it does not influence my confidence in her writings as a whole any more than my confidence in the Bible is influenced by the fact that I cannot harmonize many of the Biblical statements regarding chronology.”


  • In summary, for verbal inspirationists Ellen White’s writings, unfortunately, have become an authority on historical dates and places. For thought inspirationists, that would be an unwarranted use of a prophet’s work. Thought inspirationists focus on the big picture, the message; possible discrepancies in historical detail are considered incidental to the message, and of minor importance. MOL 388.3 – MOL 388.5


Everyone wants to be understood. Often misunderstandings arise when a statement has been lifted out of context. Thus, everyone who has been misunderstood appeals to fairness and asks that the context be considered. Context includes both internal and external clues that will establish the truth about any statement under consideration.


Internally, we usually get a clear picture of “what” an author meant by reading the words, sentences, paragraphs, even chapters, surrounding a puzzling statement.


Externally, we ask further questions that may help us to understand, such as when? where? why? and perhaps how? “Time,” “place,” and “circumstances” apply to the external context as we shall soon see. MOL 388.6 – MOL 389.1


Lesser Light vs Greater Light issue

  • “Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.”


In early 1903 Ellen White, burdened about the decline in colporteur work (literature evangelism), wrote an article for the Review. In that article she expressed appreciation for the successful promotion of Christ’s Object Lessons. She also wrote: “Sister White is not the originator of these books…. They contain the precious, comforting light that God has graciously given His servant to be given to the world. From their pages this light is to shine into the hearts of men and women, leading them to the Saviour.”


Then she amplified this connection between God’s light and her writings, and where her writings, as all other prophetic writings, would lead readers: “The Lord has sent His people much instruction, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.”


  • In her larger context, Mrs. White seems to be referring to how all biblical prophets are lesser lights leading their people “to the Saviour” the “Light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5; 12:46)—even as John the Baptist “came … to bear witness of the Light” (John 1:7, 8). Because people in her day were giving “little heed … to the Bible” (which was to lead people to Christ, the Light of the world) the Lord spoke to her as a “lesser light” (even as John the Baptist and all other biblical prophets were lesser lights) to lead people to Christ, the “greater light.”


From another point of view, no one can question that Ellen White regarded the Bible itself as a “greater light” with its centuries of inspired writings and its gold-standard acceptance as the Word of God.


Numerous are the references, from her earliest days to her last, that exalted the Bible, such as: “The Holy Scriptures are to be accepted as an authoritative, infallible revelation of His God’s will. They are the standard of character, the revealer of doctrines, and the test of experience.”


She saw clearly the relationship of her writings to the Bible. They were not only to exalt the Bible, they were to “attract minds to it,” to call “attention to the words of inspiration which you have neglected to obey,” to “impress vividly upon the heart the truths … already revealed,” “to awaken and impress the mind … that all may be left without excuse,” “to bring out general principles,” and to “come down to the minutiae of life, keeping the feeble faith from dying.” MOL 408.1 – MOL 408.7


What did she mean by saying her writings were a “lesser light”? Three metaphors have been used in past years:


The “testing instrument” and “that which is tested”

Displayed in the National Bureau of Standards at Gaithersburg, Maryland, is the National Prototype Meter No. 27 which was the national reference for line measurement from 1893 until 1960. It is made of 90 percent platinum and 10 percent iridium. Today the national standard is measured by an even more accurate method involving light emitted by electrically excited atoms of krypton-86. If anyone is unsure about his “yardstick,” he or she may take it to the national standard for comparative analysis.


The application is obvious: the national standard is the “greater light.” Copies of this national standard (called “working standards”) or industrial tools requiring exact precision and accuracy that meet the standard of the “greater light,” would be “lesser lights.” Yet, for all practical purposes, these “copies” function as well as the standard. A prototype standard (“greater light”) exists by which all other measures (“lesser lights”) are tested—but the local hardware yardstick (“lesser light”) is no less faithful to its task than the “greater light,” if it has passed the “test.” Thus, the reliability of the yardstick is, for all practical purposes, the same as the platinum-iridium bar in Gaithersburg, Maryland.


The comparison of forty candles with one candle

The analogy here is that the Bible was written by about forty authors—forty candles; Ellen White is one candle. Thus, the Bible is the “greater light.” Both the “greater light” and the “lesser light” give sufficient light to dispel darkness. The quality of light in the “greater light” is the same as that of the “lesser light.”


National Map and the State Maps

Many road atlases have a two-page map of the forty-eight contiguous states followed by the state maps. The national map with its coast-to-coast display of the Interstate highway system is the “greater light”: the state maps, though possessing more detail, are the “lesser light.” Each has its special function. Both the “greater” and the “lesser” lights have equal authority in presenting truth.


The Telescope Analogy

Mrs. S. M. I. Henry, well-known in the late nineteenth century as a leader in the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, became a Seventh-day Adventist while a patient at the Battle Creek Sanitarium. She and Ellen White soon developed a close friendship, largely because of their common life experiences. One of Mrs. Henry’s challenges was to present the Sabbath truth to her friends in the W.C.T.U., especially because they were often the leaders in promoting Sunday legislation.


However, accepting a prophet in the Adventist Church was not easy for Mrs. Henry. After close study, she saw the role of Ellen White to be akin to a telescope through which to look at the Bible. Mrs. Henry described her new insight in an article for the January 1898 issue of Good Health: “Everything depends upon our relation to it telescope and the use which we make of it. In itself it is only a glass through which to look; but in the hand of the divine Director, properly mounted, set at the right angle and adjusted to the eye of the observer, with a field, clear of clouds, it will reveal truth such as will quicken the blood, gladden the heart, and open a wide door of expectations. It will reduce nebulae to constellations; faraway points of light to planets of the first magnitude…. The failure has been in understanding what the Testimonies are and how to use them. They are not the heavens, palpitating with countless orbs of truth, but they do lead the eye and give it power to penetrate into the glories of the mysterious living word of God.”


  • Ellen White saw this article and asked permission to have it republished in Australia. She thought that Mrs. Henry had captured the relationship between the Bible and her work “as clearly and as accurately as anyone could ever put into words.” For Mrs. White, the Bible was always the “greater” light from which she derived her theological principles. MOL 408.8 – MOL 409.11


Degrees of Inspiration: Canonical vs Noncanonical

At least eight prophets mentioned in the Bible wrote for their times but their works were not included in the canon. The Biblical story not only does not hint of any difference in the quality of their inspiration, it describes their work as of equal authority with the canonical prophets. We find no difference in how they received their messages or in how they communicated them and how their contemporaries responded to them. Non-canonical prophets spoke for God and were regarded as God’s spokesmen by their contemporaries.


With the suggestion that some prophets were granted a higher degree of revelation/ inspiration than other prophets, comes the inescapable question: Who will decide? Can an uninspired person sit in judgment on a prophet’s work and decide whether he or she is a first, second, or third-degree prophet? The gift of prophecy, as other spiritual gifts, is given to men and women “according to His own will” (Hebrews 2:4), not man’s will.


In 1884 the president of the General Conference, George I. Butler, attempted to contribute to a clearer understanding of this subject by authoring ten articles for the church paper. In these articles he discussed “differences in degrees” of inspiration.


  • Ellen White waited five years to respond, hoping that he would catch his own mistake. But when others began to pick up on Butler’s point of view and teach it in Battle Creek College, she wrote: “Both in the Battle Creek Tabernacle and in the college the subject of inspiration has been taught, and finite men have taken it upon themselves to say that some things in the Scriptures were inspired and some were not. I was shown that the Lord did not inspire the articles on inspiration published in the Review, neither did He approve their endorsement before our youth in the college. When men venture to criticize the Word of God, they venture on sacred, holy ground, and had better fear and tremble and hide their wisdom as foolishness. God sets no man to pronounce judgment on His Word, selecting some things as inspired and discrediting others as uninspired. The testimonies have been treated in the same way, but God is not in this.”


Writings are the product of inspiration or they are not. Prophets are genuine or they are impostors. Other than the difference between the common and the sacred, which should be obvious to everyone, no one is able to divide a prophet’s writings into the inspired and the less inspired. As soon as one tries, the final arbiter is human reason. Each person then believes that his own reason is more dependable than anyone else’s.


Through the years some have suggested that Ellen White’s articles in periodicals were not as inspired as her books. Or that her letters were not inspired, only her published books. In 1882 she wrote a candid letter on “slighting the Testimonies” to be read in the Battle Creek, Michigan, church: “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 have there-by insulted the Spirit of God. You know how the Lord has manifested Himself through the Spirit of prophecy…. This has been my work for many years. A power has impelled me to reprove and rebuke wrongs that I had not thought of. Is this work of the last thirty-six years from above, or from beneath?


“When I went to Colorado, I was so burdened for you, that, in my weakness, I wrote many pages to be read at your camp meeting. 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. 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.” MOL 410.1 – MOL 411.1


The suggestion that prophets can be categorized by degrees of authority is similar to the previous discussion of differences in degrees of inspiration. Such appeals to categories of inspiration and authority would reduce some prophets to merely an inspirational, pastoral role or function, without divine authority.


Sometimes this proposed categorizing of prophets rests on the difference between canonical and noncanonical prophets: Noncanonical prophets are considered pastoral/inspirational; canonical prophets are considered authoritative.


Try out that reasoning in the Bible story. How much authority did David believe Nathan had? And how did Nathan understand his role—inspirational or authoritative? “The Lord sent Nathan to David…” (2 Samuel 12:1). Later David (a canonical prophet) had a similar experience with another noncanonical prophet—Gad, “David’s seer” (1 Chronicles 21:9). Again, the noncanonical prophet was conscious of his authority: “Gad came to David and said to him, ‘Thus says the Lord …'” (1 Chronicles 21:11). Further, “So David went up at the word of Gad, which he had spoken in the name of the Lord” (1 Chronicles 21:19).


In his last sermon, the late associate Review editor Don F. Neufeld said: “Through His witness to the New Testament prophets, Jesus predicted that prophetic activity, as one of many spiritual gifts, would continue in the church. In other words, the testimony of Jesus to His people was not to cease once the books that make up our present canon of Scripture would be written. Prophetic activity would continue beyond the close of the canon.


  • “This brings us to an important question. If in all prophetic activity it is Jesus who is speaking, whether in Old Testament times, in New Testament times, or in post-New Testament times, can we logically draw a distinction and say that what Jesus said in any one period is more or less authoritative than what He said in any other period?…


  • “For example, could something that Jesus said in the first century A.D. be more or less authoritative than what He said in the 19th century A.D.? The answer, I think, is obvious. It doesn’t make any sense to argue for degrees of inspiration, as if what Jesus (through the Spirit of prophecy) said in one generation was more inspired than what He said in another.”


When Josiah (621 B.C.) recognized the long-lost Scriptures (probably Deuteronomy, see 2 Chronicles 34:14), he trembled at the impending judgments foretold on God’s people as a consequence of apostasy. He was perplexed as to whether he and his leaders had enough time to institute national reform. His loyal religious leaders—Shaphan, the scholar, Hilkiah, the high priest, and many teaching Levites—were equally troubled. They all wanted to know the meaning of the Scriptures that promised both doom and blessing. Where did they turn for counsel? To the prophetess, Huldah!


Josiah appreciated and respected his committed scholars and religious counselors. These trusted leaders were illuminated by the Spirit of God. But they, too, with Josiah, needed a higher authority to explain what these Scriptures had meant in Moses’ day and what they should mean in their day. For that authority they turned to the prophetess.


Josiah and his counselors recognized that “the authority of a message is derived from its source.” They perceived the “same divine Source in both the Bible … and in the message of a contemporary prophet.” In comparing Huldah and Ellen White, we note that both “intensified” the importance of the written Word, both focused the Word on the current situation, both “exalted” the Scriptures, and both “attracted” the people to apply the Bible to their lives, leading to reform. MOL 411.2 – MOL 412.1




A Case of Infallibility and Biblical Models of Inspiration

All prophets use their own language, imperfect as all human language is and always will be. Prophets use the language of their own family, community, and time. As the years go by, through study and travel, they improve their ability to understand and present God’s messages. This growth in perception and communicative skills makes their prophetic role even more effective.


  • But prophets are not perfect; they make mistakes. Sometimes they have faulty memories; sometimes they make a slip of the tongue (lapsus linguae); sometimes they misuse grammar. When Matthew wrote “Jeremiah” instead of “Zechariah” when he found an Old Testament analogy to Judas’s thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 27:9, 10; Jeremiah 32:6-9; Zechariah 11:12), he made a mistake of memory or lapse of thought. In a similar fashion, Ellen White attributed to Peter the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:14: “The love of Christ constraineth us,’ the apostle Peter declared. This was the motive that impelled the zealous disciple in his arduous labors in the cause of the gospel.”


The Holy Spirit corrects the prophets when their counsel, for whatever reason, may adversely affect their work. Note how Nathan was told to change his counsel to David (2 Samuel 7) and when Ellen White changed her counsel regarding the closing of the Southern Publishing Association.


But the Holy Spirit does not correct the prophets’ human finiteness in the use of their communication skills. MOL 412.2 – MOL 412.5


Revelation is the work of God as He “speaks” to the prophet. Inspiration describes the many ways God works through His prophets in conveying His message to people. Biblical prophets and Ellen White have used at least six “models” of inspiration.


Visionary Model

Most often we connect prophets with visions and dreams. But God also has revealed Himself in what we call “theophanies,” in which the actual presence of a heavenly being is seen or heard. We think of Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:4) and Joshua before Jericho (Joshua 5:13-15). On another occasion, “the Lord opened the eyes of the young man Elisha’s associate and he saw … the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire” (2 Kings 6:15-17).


Often visions and dreams are so graphic that the prophet has difficulty distinguishing them from normal reality. 23 Isaiah confidently could say, “I saw the Lord…. I heard the voice of the Lord” (Isaiah 6:1, 8). Ellen White had many visions and dreams where the “reality” of the dream/ vision experience overwhelmed her, as it did for Daniel or Ezekiel.




Witness Model

God, at times, prompted certain Biblical writers to give their own account of what they had seen and heard. John exemplified this model when he wrote 1 John 1:1-3: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled…. These things we write to you that your joy may be full.” The Gospels of Matthew and John are examples of the witness model—they did not need a vision to write out their messages. Here the Holy Spirit was using a different kind of model of inspiration, in addition to the vision/dream model.


Ellen White wrote many pages reflecting this witness model. Her words in such a mode are as qualitatively inspired as her writings that were prompted by a dream or vision.


Historian Model

Luke and Mark did not write their Gospels after receiving dreams and visions. Neither were they witnesses to the revelation as Matthew and John. Mark, it is generally agreed, depended largely on Peter’s “witness.” But Mark was not an “eyewitness”: he was a faithful historian.


Luke candidly describes his method of telling the gospel story in his preface addressed to Theophilus: “Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which are most surely believed among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed” (Luke 1:1-4.)


Thus, in the historian model God expects His messengers to use all pertinent historical records, oral or written, to fill out the message. God provides the message and helps the messengers find suitable material to make the message understandable to their readers. As we discovered in earlier pages, 25 certain parts of the New Testament were imported from extra-Biblical sources. These secular and non-Biblical sources became part of the “inspired” message.

Ellen White, at times, reflected the historian model, especially in the Conflict of the Ages Series. MOL 412.6 – MOL 413.4


Counselor Model

Some of Paul’s letters, such as those to Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and portions of the Corinthian letters, are classic letters of Christian counsel. None of these letters is solely theological. In 1 Corinthians 7 we find a mix of vision truth and inspired counsel. In verse 10 Paul said: “Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband.” In verse 25 he followed with his counsel: “Now concerning virgins: I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give judgment as one whom the Lord in His mercy has made trustworthy.” In verse 40 he reminded the church that the wife “is happier if she remains as she is, according to my judgment—and I think I also have the Spirit of God.”


If someone would suggest that vision counsel is inspired and non-vision counsel is not, we would be dividing what Paul never did. What part of the Timothy letters is more inspired than other parts? Paul would say, “I have the Spirit of God.”


A large part of Ellen White’s Testimonies would be classified as counsel from one who had “the Spirit of God.” Whoever she was writing to, whether parents, children, teachers, medical workers, administrators, or ministers, she used the words, “I saw.” This does not always mean that she had a special vision for specific counsel. In her years of receiving visions, she had developed a keen sense of rightness and propriety. Her collected inspired wisdom gave her a rich store from which to draw, even as Paul would do in writing his counsel to individuals and to churches. Whether transmitting judgments derived from a vision or counsel based on years of listening to God, both communications came from one mind inspired by the same Spirit.


Epistolary Model

Letters to congregations and individuals was the most common method used by New Testament writers. Some of the letters were private; others were meant to be read publicly. It seems most probable that Paul never thought that his letters to Philemon, Timothy, and Titus would become public. But we are all thankful that they did. In these letters we see a mix of common matters with obviously spiritual counsel and instruction. These New Testament letters help us understand better how to relate to Ellen White’s many letters that often were private and frequently mixed the common with the sacred. MOL 413.5 – MOL 413.8


If the Lord permitted Paul’s private letters to be included in the canon for universal distribution, it would be appropriate to believe that the letters of His modern prophet might also bring encouragement and corrective counsel to those who do not have the benefit of her personal ministry.


Literary Model

The Bible contains portions such as the Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes where the writer expresses his most intimate feelings through poetry and prose. Again, it seems improbable that David or the other psalmists thought that their songs would eventually be in print and circulated the world over. Their deepest emotions, elation as well as anxiety, flow like an artesian well. In God’s wisdom these human emotions were meant to be preserved for the benefit of all who struggle in their daily lives.


Although Ellen White was not a poet, she also expressed her keenest emotions in thousands of diary pages. We are reminded of the apostle’s words in Hebrews 1:1 that God has “at various times and in different ways” spoken to us throughout human history. In listening to David or Ellen White, we often hear our own cries of anxiety, even discouragement, as well as our joy.


God has indeed spoken to us “in different ways.” Through visions and dreams, through those who witness of their own account of things seen and heard, through those who are inspired by the Spirit to research the providences of God, through those who are gifted to counsel God’s people regarding His will for them, through letters of instruction and correction, and through the vehicle of emotional expression of one’s deepest thoughts—through these “different ways” God has spoken to the heads and hearts of men and women “at various times.”


Thus, we can see that not all prophets had visions nor did all write letters. Some prophets laid their hearts bare to others while others were more objective in witnessing to what they had seen in the lives of others—or in recording the providences of God—as they did historical research. Some foretold the future, others were forth-tellers of God’s will in their time.


In four ways Jesus is the best example of how true prophets perform their responsibilities:


  1. He is the Messenger, the Revealer, of the mind of God.


  1. He amplified the meaning of previously written Scripture.


  1. He applied the Scripture to current circumstances.


  1. He clarified the meaning of previously written Scripture.


MOL 413.9 – MOL 414.10


When are we supposed to quote EGW?

One of the most important lessons to be learned from the 1888 experience is that Ellen White was more concerned with living the truth than in discussing it. She made that clear on many occasions. If an un-Christlike spirit motivated a Bible student, that suggested for her that there might be something wrong with his/her theology!


Another emotionally laden event occurred the day before the 1901 General Conference session in Battle Creek. Many were the challenges that the delegates faced, but probably the greatest was the need to reorganize the General Conference which, for many years, involved only a few leaders with too much authority. Ellen White called it “a king-like, kingly ruling power.”


Close to this root problem, the leaders had to face the enormous denominational debt, the amount and kind of commercial printing being done at the Review and Herald publishing house, and the growing contention with Dr. Kellogg.


Yet, underneath all these visible problems flowed a stream of inertia to change.


This inertia not only resisted improved policies of church governance, it also resisted openness to present truth and to a deepening of spiritual attitudes. Ellen White reminded the leaders of her counsel she had been giving them for years: “Enough has been said, over and over and over again, but it did not make any difference. The light shone upon them, just the same, professedly accepting it, but they did not make any change. That is what frightens me.” The root of this spiritual problem was that Mrs. White’s counsel, though often used, was misapplied to suit one’s point of view, and the principles were ignored: “He God wants you to eat His principles: to live His principles;—but those that are there now present church leaders never will appreciate it. They have had their test, … they have had their warnings, and now there must be a change.”


Ellen White wanted no more lip service to her counsel: “Lay Sister White right to one side…. Do not you ever quote my words again as long as you live, until you can obey the Bible. When you take the Bible and make that your food … and make that the elements sic of your character, when you can do that you will know better how to receive some counsel from God. But here is the Word, exalted before you today. And do not you give a rap any more what ‘Sister White said’—’Sister White said this,’ and ‘Sister White said that,’ and ‘Sister White said the other thing.’ But say, ‘Thus saith the Lord God of Israel,’ and then you do just what the Lord God of Israel does, and what He says.”


She wanted the church leaders to live out the principles of the gospel—not to hide behind quotations from her as if meeting some of her counsel on church work could make up for their lack of Christian character. Her many testimonies regarding the seamless union of medical missionary work with the ministry had been generally ignored. Her counsel regarding the relationship of the mind and a healthy body had also been largely disregarded.


In this 1901 setting at Battle Creek, Ellen White was not discussing the relationship of her writings in the development of doctrine when she said further: “Do not you quote Sister White. I do not 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…. Carry it out in your life, and you will know more Bible than you know now…. And I ask you to put on the armor, every piece of it, and be sure that your feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel.”


She was simply telling these church leaders that appeals to her writings for whatever purpose was missing the mark when they were not, generally speaking, internalizing the principles of the gospel found either in the Bible or in her writings. Living the gospel was more important than “playing church” no matter how many quotations about the gospel were in their heads. MOL 417.8 – MOL 418.4


Why the Bible?

In her writings, Ellen White stated that the “Bible was given for practical purposes.” She urged her readers to join her in taking “the Bible just as it is, as the Inspired Word” and that in “obeying the Word … not one of you will be lost.”


And what are those “practical purposes”? Mrs. White’s ministry, from start to finish, continually focused on the place of the Bible in bringing salvation to its readers. Studying the Bible is not primarily an academic, intellectual venture; the Bible is a rich mine from which honest people discover the truth about God and how best to relate to Him. In respect to “higher education,” she wrote: “The true higher education is gained by studying and obeying the Word of God. But when God’s Word is laid aside for books that do not lead to God and the kingdom of heaven, the education acquired is a perversion of the name.”


The purpose of the Bible, in Ellen White’s thinking, is to help honest seekers relate to the cosmic conflict in such a way that God’s purpose to restore sinners will be achieved. For her, Bible study and character development are inseparable.


This conceptual consistency, this linkage between the Bible, character development, and the Great Controversy Theme, is one of the primary characteristics of Ellen White’s writings. This threefold linkage defines the way her writings should be understood in relation to her use of the Bible. She never saw herself as an exegete. Or as a historical scholar. Thus her readers should not look to her, primarily, as an exegete or historian. Part of her job description was to serve as God’s messenger in these last days to help prepare a people to meet the Lord. The Bible was her textbook in defining what that preparation means. It was her personal guide for her close walk with God. In her hands it became the textbook for others as she exhorted them to join her in this life-changing relationship. MOL 420.6 – MOL 421.1


About Creeds and Seventh-day Adventist Church

Because of God’s plan to unfold truth as fast as His people are able to understand it, each generation is blessed with additional truth. Thus, we know more today about God’s will than did earlier generations. Not that truth is evolving in some kind of evolutionary scheme, but our perception of truth is continually progressing.


Within the Bible story we find a built-in “capacity for self-correction of understanding.” The Old Testament understanding of God’s plan for this world and how He will intervene and create a “new world” was clarified in later revelations, in the New Testament. This is a practical example of how God always “meets people where they are, yet knows all along where He is going!”


The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a forward-looking church. Its members and leaders have not let the past be the measure for the future. The primary value of the past has been in its unique ability to reveal the leading of God and His “big picture” that He is constantly unfolding.


Through the years Ellen White “was consistently ahead of the leaders. She had the ideas and the energy to set them before the people.” What was the reason? She understood by concept and experience that God is always leading His people into greater light, as fast as they are able to receive it, as fast as they are willing to obey it.


Mrs. White was opposed to a creedal approach to Adventist doctrine. During the 1888 General Conference, resolutions were proposed that “nothing should be taught in the college contrary to what has been taught.” She noted that she “felt deeply, for I knew whoever framed that resolution was not aware of what he was doing.” Such a resolution would not only perpetuate errors then taught (for example, verbal inspiration of the Bible), but would also slam the door against the Spirit of God who might have further light for honest truth-seekers.


In another letter Ellen White wrote: “I could not let the resolution pass, that nothing should be “taught in the college but that which had been taught during the past year”, that there was to be special light for God’s people as they neared the closing scenes of this earth’s history. Another angel was to come from heaven with a message and the whole earth was to be lightened with his glory. It would be impossible for us to state just how this additional light would come. It might come in a very unexpected manner, in a way that would not agree with the ideas that many have conceived. It is not at all unlikely, or contrary to the ways and works of God to send light to His people in unexpected ways. Would it be right that every avenue should be closed in our school so that the students could not have the benefit of this light? The resolution was not called for.”


For Ellen White, “the best way to deal with error is to present the truth.” To paper over discussion with resolutions that often conceal opposition to truth and serious discord was not her way.


She spoke also to the present generation when she addressed the 1888 General Conference session: “No one must be permitted to close the avenues whereby the light of truth shall come to the people. As soon as this shall be attempted, God’s Spirit will be quenched, for that Spirit is constantly at work to give fresh and increased light to His people through His Word.” Christians until the end of time, and throughout eternity, will be listening to the Spirit as He continues to build on the tree of truth with new branches that extend the broad outlines understood in the past. MOL 422.6 – MOL 423.4


In Battle Creek, October 5, 1861, when the Michigan Conference was organized, the wording of the resolution included “covenanting to keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus Christ.” Some felt strongly that even these words suggested a creed.


  1. N. Loughborough declared that “the first step of apostasy is to get up a creed, telling us what we shall believe. The second is to make that creed a test of fellowship. The third is to try members by that creed. The fourth is to denounce as heretics those who do not believe that creed. And fifth, to commence persecution against such. I plead that we are not patterning after the churches in any unwarrantable sense in the step proposed.”


After others spoke, James White, in his inimitable fashion, made a comprehensive statement that had lasting significance. It included: “I take the ground that creeds stand in a direct opposition to the gifts. Let us suppose a case: We get up a creed, stating just what we shall do in reference to this thing and that, and say that we will believe the gifts too.


“But suppose the Lord, through the gifts, should give us some new light that did not harmonize with our creed; then, if we remain true to the gifts, it knocks our creed all over at once. Making a creed is setting the stakes, and barring up the way to all future advancement. God put the gifts into the church for a good and great object; but men who have got up their churches, have shut up the way or have marked out a course for the Almighty. They say virtually that the Lord must not do anything further than what has been marked out in the creed.


“A creed and the gifts thus stand in direct opposition to each other. Now what is our position as a people? The Bible is our creed. We reject everything in the form of a human creed. We take the Bible and the gifts of the Spirit; embracing the faith that thus the Lord will teach us from time to time. And in this we take a position against the formation of a creed. We are not taking one step, in what we are doing, toward becoming Babylon.” MOL 426.6 – MOL 427.3


The 1919 Bible Conference, one of the most heated Sessions in Adventist history discussed passionately topics as the Eastern question, the Arian-Trinity controversy, the two covenants, the “daily” (Daniel 8:11-13), beginning and ending of the 1260 years, and the king of the north (Daniel 11). At the heart of it was the issue of how to interpret Ellen White and her say on these topics. Should she be understood in the light of verbal or thought inspiration? Missing in that conference was W. C. White but why? Herbert Douglass tries to give a glimpse of this:


  • Some wonder why W. C. White was not present at the 1919 meetings. As a member of the General Conference Committee, he was automatically a delegate and did receive the mimeographed invitation. Perhaps, after looking over the agenda, which included nothing on the work and relevance of Ellen White, he felt his time would be better spent in the Elmshaven office. Working alone after his mother’s staff had dispersed in 1915 (no budget allotted by the Trustees, not even provision for a letterhead), White felt pressure to finish compiling Counsels on Health to satisfy the requests from medical leaders. If anyone had been able to predict that two long days of discussion (that arose spontaneously) would have been devoted to his mother’s prophetic role, “he doubtless would have made a greater effort to attend.” MOL 438.8 – MOL 439.1


  1. C. White, the most valuable source person available, could have answered some of the questions more accurately, more constructively, than anyone else. Perhaps, with his experience and communicative skills, he could have helped to focus more clearly the issues that were seriously dividing church leaders and laypeople at that time, and for years to come. That focus would have led to a careful, forthright examination of the facts regarding the work of a prophet in modern times. Cutting away mistaken ideas would have been painful for some, but the healing would have been quicker and longer lasting than the widening gap of confidence that followed the Conference/Council.


However, another aspect must be considered: For many church leaders, at the Conference and in the field, W. C. White was suspect, and had been for twenty years, as being one of the “liberals.” Why? Because he had been emphasizing that his mother’s writings should always be understood in context with “time, place, and circumstances” determining their meaning and application. W. C. White, with Daniells, Wilcox, and later Prescott, represented those who were thought-inspirationists, though that term had not been used at that time.


  • Often at the heart of the controversy with Dr. J. H. Kellogg and A. T. Jones was the issue of how to interpret the statements of Ellen White. These two articulate leaders eventually used Mrs. White’s writings only when they seemed to support their views. Part of Jones’s attack on Daniells was based on Mrs. White’s comments regarding the unreliability of General Conference leadership in 1897, and then charging that the same statements applied in 1906. On other occasions, when they found difficulty with her writings, their response was that “someone” had told her wrong information. Often that “someone” was, in their mind, her son W. C. White.


From 1919 to his death in 1937, W. C. White’s contribution to the facts surrounding the prophetic ministry of his mother was enormously helpful.


  • Beneath the differences of the delegates (and many of the ministers and lay-people in the churches) over such agenda topics as the Eastern question, the Arian-Trinity controversy, the two covenants, the “daily” (Daniel 8:11-13), beginning and ending of the 1260 years, and the king of the north (Daniel 11), was the issue of how to interpret Ellen White. Accusations of disloyalty to her, of unfaithfulness to her authority by picking and choosing her writings as to what was inspired, of unsafe leaders leading the denomination down a fearful path without the guidance that she had given the denomination for seventy years—all such spirited words directed at General Conference officers and those among the teachers in the colleges who supported them did not bring out the best in people, on either side.


The Conference/Council was charged with tension the moment it opened. At stake, each side believed, was the authority of Ellen White. Each side further believed that on this issue would hang the future of the church.


  • Both sides, verbal- and thought-inspirationists, had much of value to hold on to. But neither side saw the heart-truth for which the other was contending. Thus they missed the transcending, healing nature of the ellipse of truth. Neither side saw clearly the biggest reason why the ministry of Mrs. White had made such an enormous impact on their lives, though each appealed to their own experience under her guidance as undeniable. Neither side could see clearly that her distinctive message, her coherent, integrating theological principles, were the foundation for her guiding concepts in education, health, mission, and the Adventist theological teachings.


The foundation principles, understood as the Great Controversy Theme, were the reasons why the policies these leaders had followed were so effective. They had been living so close to the rapidly developing church and the equally rapid change in national and world conditions that most of them had not stepped back far enough to see the big picture. Both sides saw these undeniably wonderful results (in education, health, and rapid church growth) and they wanted to protect their divinely guided messenger from the use or misuse of her writings. Each side saw the other as the ultimate problem when they perceived what seemed to be a lack of appreciation for the gift of prophecy in their midst. MOL 439.2 – MOL 440.2


  • But the downside of these two positions was played out in the lives of some of the most eloquent partisans. Many contributing influences affected Dr. John Harvey Kellogg but probably none was more crucial than his understanding of how revelation and inspiration works. The eventual drift of A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner, spiritual heroes of 1888 and the early 1890s, was largely caused by the same misunderstanding. Kellogg and Jones, especially, held to a rigid concept of virtual verbal inspiration without using the contextual principle for understanding Mrs. White’s statements.


  • But some of those contending for thought inspiration found themselves on the other side of the slippery slope. Though they had a clearer grasp of how God speaks to the minds of prophets, few seemed to possess the inner core of Ellen White’s message that provided the theological structure for her global contributions to theology, education, health, mission, etc.


As time passed, some of these otherwise able leaders had nothing to hang on to when they began to separate what was inspired from what was not. When they said that Ellen White could not be trusted in historical and medical matters, or even in administrative and theological issues—where would they stop? If Ellen White could not be considered an authority in these matters, how could she be considered authoritative in others?


  • We do not know the motivation behind the written or public statements of either verbal or thought-inspirationists. Generally, however, thought-inspirationists contended for the freedom to interpret Ellen White on the basis of sound hermeneutical principles—such as the application of time, place, and circumstances. Such sought the principle behind the policy. This approach had been best articulated by W. C. White in his remarks regarding the 1911 revision of The Great Controversy. F. M. Wilcox, in a general way, at the Council, also asserted this coherent, integrating approach to the writings of Ellen White: “I would like to ask Brother Daniells if it could be accepted as a sort of rule that Sister White might be mistaken in details, but in the general policy and instruction she was an authority.”


Others who contended against the verbal-inspirationists did not accept, or perhaps did not understand, this larger, more constructive reasoning. The thought would be expressed, for whatever reason, “While I believe that Ellen White is a prophet of God, I do not believe that all she writes and all she says is inspired; in other words, I do not believe in verbal inspiration.”


  • That kind of thinking, if not severely modified, is an open door through which many have walked away from the Adventist Church over the years. Such thinking leads to personal judgment as to what a “prophet” means and to personal judgment as to what is inspired and what is not. This is truly a slippery slope if there is not a prevailing, fundamental message to hold on to.


  • At least verbal-inspirationists knew, in their minds, how to hang on to authority—even if it might not have been for the right reasons. Those of this group (and there were many) who remained in the church as strong leaders in administration and evangelism, believed that they were the only ones left who could save the denomination from apostasy. They could point to many who tried to “reinterpret” Ellen White as examples of where such thinking would lead others—men such as the Ballenger brothers (A. F. and E. S.), J. H. Kellogg, A. T. Jones, W. A. Colcord, E. J. Waggoner, L. R. Conradi, and W. W. Fletcher.


Common to all these highly visible leaders who defected was their decision “that the Spirit of prophecy could be divided into ‘inspired’ and ‘uninspired’ portions. It seems relevant that, in most cases, those who began to make such determinations eventually lost confidence in the Spirit of prophecy.”


  • Evidence that the Conference/Council did not appear to change anyone’s mind is reflected in later comments. On one hand, A. G. Daniells wrote to W. C. White that “we stand together more unitedly and firmly for all the fundamentals than when we began the meeting.”


  • On the other, J. S. Washburn, a highly visible representative of those who opposed Prescott and Daniells on their positions concerning the “daily,” the Eastern question, etc., wrote an open letter to Daniells and the General Conference Committee, expressing the concern of many. In referring to “this so-called Bible Institute” where “teachers were undermining the confidence of our sons and daughters in the very fundamentals of our truth,” he quoted “one of our most faithful workers” who said that the Institute “was the most terrible thing that had ever happened in the history of this denomination.”


  • The issues that surfaced in the 1919 Conference/Council remain today, reflected in at least three of the four positions that divide Christians generally and Adventists specifically:


(a) Those who believe that Biblical writers and Ellen White were inspired but were not given propositional truth;


(b) Those who hold that Biblical writers and Ellen White received divinely dictated truth and that their messages were given as God wanted the writings to be read or heard:


(c) Those who believe that the Bible and the writings of Ellen White are divinely inspired by God impressing thoughts on the prophets’ minds who would then convey the message in the best language and thought frames at their disposal; (THIS IS MY POSITION)


(d) Those who believe that the Bible and the writings of Ellen White are generally inspired but their value is more pastoral than theological. MOL 440.3 – MOL 441.7


How was the Bible given?

The Bible is not given to us in grand superhuman language. Jesus, in order to reach man where he is, took humanity. The Bible must be given in the language of men. Everything that is human is imperfect. Different meanings are expressed by the same word; there is not one word for each distinct idea. The Bible was given for practical purposes.


The stamps of minds are different. All do not understand expressions and statements alike. Some understand the statements of the Scriptures to suit their own particular minds and cases. Prepossessions, prejudices, and passions have a strong influence to darken the understanding and confuse the mind even in reading the words of Holy Writ.


The disciples traveling to Emmaus needed to be disentangled in their interpretation of the Scriptures. Jesus walked with them disguised, and as a man He talked with them. Beginning at Moses and the prophets He taught them in all things concerning Himself, that His life, His mission, His sufferings, His death were just as the Word of God had foretold. He opened their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures. How quickly He straightened out the tangled ends and showed the unity and divine verity of the Scriptures. How much men in these times need their understanding opened.


The Bible is written by inspired men, but it is not God’s mode of thought and expression. It is that of humanity. God, as a writer, is not represented. Men will often say such an expression is not like God. But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible. The writers of the Bible were God’s penmen, not His pen. Look at the different writers.


It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man’s words or his expressions but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts. But the words and thoughts receive the impress of the individual mind. The divine mind is diffused. The divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will; thus the utterances of the man are the word of God.—Manuscript 24, 1886 (written in Europe in 1886). 1SM 20.2 – 1SM 21.2


The Creator of all ideas may impress different minds with the same thought, but each may express it in a different way, yet without contradiction. The fact that this difference exists should not perplex or confuse us. It is seldom that two persons will view and express truth in the very same way. Each dwells on particular points which his constitution and education have fitted him to appreciate. The sunlight falling upon the different objects gives those objects a different hue.


Through the inspiration of His Spirit the Lord gave His apostles truth, to be expressed according to the development of their minds by the Holy Spirit. But the mind is not cramped, as if forced into a certain mold.—Letter 53, 1900. 1SM 22.1 – 1SM 22.2


The Lord speaks to human beings in imperfect speech, in order that the degenerate senses, the dull, earthly perception, of earthly beings may comprehend His words. Thus is shown God’s condescension. He meets fallen human beings where they are. The Bible, perfect as it is in its simplicity, does not answer to the great ideas of God; for infinite ideas cannot be perfectly embodied in finite vehicles of thought. Instead of the expressions of the Bible being exaggerated, as many people suppose, the strong expressions break down before the magnificence of the thought, though the penman selected the most expressive language through which to convey the truths of higher education. Sinful beings can only bear to look upon a shadow of the brightness of heaven’s glory.—Letter 121, 1901. 1SM 22.3


Why did EGW have Editors?

This is another question raised to cast doubts on her writings but it should be remembered that Jeremiah, Peter and Paul had scribes for helping in writings messages that formed part of the Canon.


  • Ellen White employed literary assistants for the same reasons that Biblical writers did. She recognized her own limitations of time and literary skills. In 1873, she wrote in her diary: “My mind is coming to strange conclusions. I am thinking I must lay aside my writing I have taken so much pleasure in, and see if I cannot become a scholar. I am not a grammarian. I will try, if the Lord will help me, at forty-five years old to become a scholar in the science. God will help me. I believe He will.”


She was often interrupted while writing and this left tangled copy. Commenting on this need for editorial assistance, she wrote: “Doing as much writing as I do, it is not surprising if there are many sentences left unfinished.”


In a letter to G. A. Irwin, General Conference president, Willie White noted that his mother sought literary assistance because she recognized the varying quality in her writings: “Sometimes when Mother’s mind is rested, and free, the thoughts are presented in language that is not only clear and strong, but beautiful and correct; and at times when she is weary and oppressed with heavy burdens of anxiety, or when the subject is difficult to portray, there are repetitions and ungrammatical sentences.” MOL 109.13 – MOL 110.3


  • He further described the guidelines that his mother set for her literary assistants: “Mother’s copyists are entrusted with the work of correcting grammatical errors, of eliminating unnecessary repetitions, and of grouping paragraphs and sections in their best order…. Mother’s workers of experience, such as Sisters Davis, Burnham, Bolton, Peck, and Hare, who are very familiar with her writings, are authorized to take a sentence, paragraph, or section from one manuscript and incorporate it with another manuscript where the same thought was expressed but not so clearly. But none of Mother’s workers are authorized to add to the manuscripts by introducing thoughts of their own.”


By 1881 Willie served as the editorial coordinator for his mother’s literary assistants. Because Ellen White was either traveling or writing new material most of the time, she chose not to be involved in editorial details. She knew that she would review all documents before they would be published unless she gave, on occasion, specific permission to a periodical editor to abridge to fit space. The record shows that they made few changes.


A “hierarchy of responsibility” developed. For example, for minor editorial work, Marian Davis was authorized to decide matters herself; larger questions were to be submitted to W. C. White. Ellen White would make the final decisions as to editorial changes after both William and Marian had done their work. MOL 110.4 – MOL 110.6


Marian Davis had occasions to describe her work as she saw it: “I have tried to begin both chapters and paragraphs with short sentences, and indeed to simplify wherever possible, to drop out every needless word, and to make the work, as I have said, more compact and vigorous.”


The publishers hoped to keep Ellen White on their schedule, which was not easy during her heavy duties in Australia. Marian wrote to Willie: “Sister White is constantly harassed with the thought that the manuscript should be sent to the printers at once…. Sister White seems inclined to write, and I have no doubt she will bring out many precious things. I hope it will be possible to get them into the book. There is one thing, however, that not even the most competent editor could do—that is prepare a manuscript before it is written.”


At times Ellen White reached out beyond her immediate helpers for assistance. She explained this procedure to W. H. Littlejohn in 1894: “I have all my publications closely examined. I desire that nothing shall appear in print without careful investigation. Of course I would not want men who have not a Christian experience or are lacking in ability to appreciate literary merit to be placed as judges of what is essential to come before the people, as pure provender thoroughly winnowed from the chaff. I laid out all my manuscript on Patriarchs and Prophets and on Spirit of Prophecy Vol. IV before the book committee for examination and criticism. I also placed these manuscripts in the hands of some of our ministers for examination. The more criticism of them the better for the work.”


When she wrote of medical matters, her office helpers asked medical specialists to review the manuscripts with care: “I wish that in all your reading you would note those places where the thought is expressed in a way to be especially criticized by medical men and kindly give us the benefit of your knowledge as to how to express the same thought in a more accurate way.”


Regardless of wherever she received editorial help, Ellen White read everything in final form: “I find under my door in the morning several copied articles from Sister Peck, Maggie Hare, and Minnie Hawkins. All must be read critically by me …. Every article I prepare to be edited by my workers, I always have to read myself before it is sent for publication.” MOL 110.7 – MOL 111.3


I hope everyone are familiar with the following and it doesn’t to me border any closer to verbal inspiration:


  • The Bible is not given to us in grand superhuman language. Jesus, in order to reach man where he is, took humanity. The Bible must be given in the language of men. Everything that is human is imperfect. Different meanings are expressed by the same word; there is not one word for each distinct idea. The Bible was given for practical purposes.


  • The stamps of minds are different. All do not understand expressions and statements alike. Some understand the statements of the Scriptures to suit their own particular minds and cases. Prepossessions, prejudices, and passions have a strong influence to darken the understanding and confuse the mind even in reading the words of Holy Writ.


  • The disciples traveling to Emmaus needed to be disentangled in their interpretation of the Scriptures. Jesus walked with them disguised, and as a man He talked with them. Beginning at Moses and the prophets He taught them in all things concerning Himself, that His life, His mission, His sufferings, His death were just as the Word of God had foretold. He opened their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures. How quickly He straightened out the tangled ends and showed the unity and divine verity of the Scriptures. How much men in these times need their understanding opened.


  • The Bible is written by inspired men, but it is not God’s mode of thought and expression. It is that of humanity. GOD, AS A WRITER, IS NOT REPRESENTED. Men will often say such an expression is not like God. But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible. The writers of the Bible were God’s penmen, not His pen. Look at the different writers.


  • It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man’s words or his expressions but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts. But the words and thoughts receive the impress of the individual mind. The divine mind is diffused. The divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will; thus the utterances of the man are the word of God.—Manuscript 24, 1886 (written in Europe in 1886). 1SM 20.2 – 1SM 21.2


  • The Creator of all ideas may impress different minds with the same thought, but each may express it in a different way, yet without contradiction. The fact that this difference exists should not perplex or confuse us. It is seldom that two persons will view and express truth in the very same way. Each dwells on particular points which his constitution and education have fitted him to appreciate. The sunlight falling upon the different objects gives those objects a different hue.


  • Through the inspiration of His Spirit the Lord gave His apostles truth, to be expressed according to the development of their minds by the Holy Spirit. But the mind is not cramped, as if forced into a certain mold.—Letter 53, 1900. 1SM 22.1 – 1SM 22.2


  • The Lord speaks to human beings in imperfect speech, in order that the degenerate senses, the dull, earthly perception, of earthly beings may comprehend His words. Thus is shown God’s condescension. He meets fallen human beings where they are. The Bible, perfect as it is in its simplicity, does not answer to the great ideas of God; for infinite ideas cannot be perfectly embodied in finite vehicles of thought. Instead of the expressions of the Bible being exaggerated, as many people suppose, the strong expressions break down before the magnificence of the thought, though the penman selected the most expressive language through which to convey the truths of higher education. Sinful beings can only bear to look upon a shadow of the brightness of heaven’s glory.—Letter 121, 1901. 1SM 22.3


Why did we have changes in EGW Books when she was still alive?

Sarah Peck, an education specialist, joined Ellen White’s staff at the turn of the century. One of her assignments was to assemble Mrs. White’s writings on the principles of education. Miss Peck soon saw that these materials divided themselves into two groups. Those most appropriate for the church now appear in certain sections of the Testimonies, volume 6 (1900) and Counsels to Parents and Teachers (1913); those suitable for the general public are in Education (1903).


While helping his mother prepare the 1911 edition of The Great Controversy, W. C. White wrote to the Publication Committee: “In Great Controversy, Volume IV, published in 1885, in the chapter ‘Snares of Satan,’ there are three pages or more of matter that were not used in the later editions, which were prepared to be sold to the multitudes by our canvassers. It is most excellent and interesting reading for Sabbathkeepers, as it points out the work that Satan will do in persuading popular ministers and church members to elevate the Sunday sabbath, and to persecute Sabbathkeepers.


“It was not left out because it was less true in 1888 than in 1885, but because Mother thought it was not wisdom to say these things to the multitudes to whom the book would be sold in future years….


“With reference to this, and to other passages in her writings which have been omitted in later editions, she has often said: ‘These statements are true, and they are useful to our people; but to the general public, for whom this book is now being prepared, they are out of place. Christ said, even to His disciples, “I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” And Christ taught His disciples to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Therefore, as it is probable that more souls will be won to Christ by the book without this passage than with it, let it be omitted.


“Regarding changes in forms of expression, Mother has often said: ‘Essential truths must be plainly told; but so far as possible they should be told in language that will win, rather than offend.'”


Ellen White’s sermons were often published as articles in the Signs of the Times or the Review and Herald. However, preparing them for the Review was much easier than preparing articles for the Signs. Why? Because readers of the Review were mainly Seventh-day Adventists, and those of the Signs, primarily the general public. MOL 112.7 – MOL 113.4





Handling Marriage Problems

“It was not over a year before James White talked it over with me. He said something had come up, and he should have to go away and leave me to go with whomsoever I would, or we must be married. He said something had got to be done. So we were married, and have been married ever since. Although he is dead, I feel that he is the best man that ever trod shoe leather.”


James White view of Ellen White

  1. H. Christian, long-time church leader, recalled a conversation with a woman who, in her early youth, had played together with young Ellen and remembered her sad accident. When Christian asked her what she remembered about Ellen as a young woman, she responded with a smile, “Well, that is an interesting story which I delight to tell. James was older than Ellen by about six years. We were young people there together. Their friendship was a model and an inspiration to us all, and their marriage a most beautiful and happy event.”


Thus began a remarkable 35-year marriage founded on their mutual love and conviction that Ellen’s visions were of divine origin. Ellen Gould Harmon became Mrs. Ellen G. White, the name by which she is known as the prophetess/ messenger of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. MOL 52.5 – MOL 52.8


The public saw Ellen as the revivalist and James as the organizer. “As man and wife they were a unique and strong gospel team. Their method and division of the work were perfect. Adventists have never had their equal.”


Even before their marriage James recognized Ellen’s exceptional preaching skills: “Although but sixteen, she was a laborer in the cause of Christ in public and from house to house. She was a decided Adventist, and yet her experience was so rich and her testimony so powerful that ministers and leading men of different churches sought her labors as an exhorter in their several congregations. But at that time she was very timid, and little thought that she was to be brought before the public to speak to thousands.”


Known for his persistence and sound judgment, James was considered a trusted leader by fellow Seventh-day Adventists. He was not only a strategist, he fought like a warrior in the field. He started the church’s publishing work with nothing, fostered church organization, and developed an educational system when others saw only a dream. His rugged faith and contagious cheer moved audiences. Funds and support emerged. His remarkable business skills saved the denomination from many embarrassments.


When James White died, the editor of the Battle Creek Journal (who had lived very close to most of White’s enterprises) wrote: “He was a man of the patriarchal pattern, and his character was cast in the heroic mold. If the logical clearness to formulate a creed; if the power to infect others with one’s own zeal, and impress them with one’s own convictions; if the executive ability to establish a sect and to give it form and stability; if the genius to shape and direct the destiny of great communities, be a mark of true greatness, Elder White is certainly entitled to the appellation, for he possessed not one of these qualities only, but all of them in a marked degree.” MOL 53.1 – MOL 53.4


Probably, however, James White would not be admired and remembered today so vividly if he had not been teamed with one who possessed the Spirit of prophecy. L. H. Christian wrote: “Great as was the leadership service of Elder White to the advent cause, his greatest service was his abiding faith in and defense of the Spirit of prophecy. That he—a strong businessman of broad good sense and balanced judgment, absolutely free from fanaticism, always against counterfeit manifestations of religion, and knowing the messenger intimately as his wife—should always stand so staunchly for her calling and work as a messenger from God, gave our members great confidence in her testimonies…. He thought of his life mission as an instrument to make known to the church the visions of the Lord given to his companion. These testimonies instructed and reproved him as they did others, but he accepted and followed them implicitly as light from heaven.”


Messenger and master builder, prophet and apostle, “James and Ellen White were an invaluable team. Ellen shared with James her wisdom based on her revelations; he acted vigorously to implement what she advised and what to him seemed common sense.”


Ellen White’s role as a loving, loyal wife is well documented. In 1876, while making their home in Oakland, California, Ellen, then 48 years old, felt the need to focus on finishing the second volume of The Spirit of Prophecy, which emphasized the life and work of Christ. James departed alone for Battle Creek to attend a special session of the General Conference. MOL 53.5 – MOL 53.7


In a typical note two days after his departure, she wrote (March 24): “We are all well as usual. It takes a little time to get settled down from the excitement of your going. You may be assured we miss you. Especially do we feel the loss of your society when we gather about the fireside evenings. We feel your absence when we sit around the social board dining table. But we shall get more used to this after a while. We have been writing today.”


A few weeks later she wrote a letter that revealed more of her humor as well as her warm relationship with James. Part of the letter reads: “I had written you quite a lengthy letter last night, but the ink was spilled upon it, making an unsightly blotch, and I will not send it. We received your few words last night on a postal card—’Battle Creek, April 11. No letters from you for two days. James White.’


“This lengthy letter was written by yourself. Thank you, for we know you are living. No letter from James White previous to this since April 6, 1876. We were very thankful to receive a few lines in reference to yourself from Sister Hall, April 9. I have been anxiously waiting for something to answer.”


Then followed an extensive description of the previous day’s activities sailing in San Francisco Bay, the high waves reminding her of the disciples on stormy Galilee. A few lines later, “I will write every morning…. Will you do the same?”


Several days later, she penned her affection for James and her loneliness when he was away: “We are all quite well and cheerful. We feel every day a most earnest desire for a more sacred nearness to God. This is my prayer, when I lie down, when I awake in the night, and when I arise in the morning, Nearer my God to Thee, nearer to Thee.” MOL 53.8 – MOL 54.5


  • In experiencing the effects of several strokes and advancing age, thoughts of discouragement and resentment assailed him. Bleak thoughts seeped into his letters to his wife.


On May 12, 1876, Ellen, at 48, replied to one of his letters: “In regard to my independence, I have had no more than I should have in the matter under the circumstances. I do not receive accept your views or interpretation of my feelings on this matter. I understand myself much better than you understand me. But so it must be, and I will say no more in reference to the matter. I am glad you are free and happy, and I rejoice that God has blessed me with freedom, with peace, and cheerfulness and courage…. I shall look to God for guidance and shall try to move as He shall lead the way.”


Four days later she wrote: “It grieves me that I have said or written anything to grieve you. Forgive me, and I will be cautious not to start any subject to annoy and distress you. We are living in a most solemn time and we cannot afford to have in our old age differences to separate our feelings. I may not view all things as you do, but I do not think it would be my place or duty to try to make you see as I see and feel as I feel. Wherein I have done this, I am sorry.


“I want an humble heart, a meek and quiet spirit. Wherein my feelings have been permitted to arise in any instance, it was wrong….


“I wish that self should be hid in Jesus. I wish self to be crucified. I do not claim infallibility, or even perfection of Christian character. I am not free from mistakes and errors in my life. Had I followed my Saviour more closely, I should not have to mourn so much my unlikeness to His dear image…. No more shall a line be traced by me or expression made in my letters to distress you. Again, I say, forgive me, every word or act that has grieved you.”


James and Ellen wrote their personal, touching letters without any thought that they would be read by others some day. In these letters we gain uncommon insights into how committed Christians handled marital stress, and through them other husbands and wives have taken heart and learned how to handle their own tensions and conflicts. These letters have become sources of hope and strength to many modern marriages. MOL 54.6 – MOL 55.1




The Soldier Rests

“Dear Husband: I dreamed last night that a celebrated physician came into the room while we were engaged in prayer for you. Said he, ‘Prayer is well, but living out your prayers is still more essential. Your faith must be sustained by your works, else it is dead faith….”You are not brave in God. If there is any inconvenience, instead of accommodating yourself to circumstances, you will keep the matter, be it ever so small, in your mind until it suits you; therefore, you do not work out your faith. You have no real faith yet. You yearn but for victory. When your faith is made perfect by works, you will cease studying yourself and rest your case in the hands of God, bearing something, enduring something, not exactly in accordance with your feelings.


“All the powers on earth could not help you unless you work in harmony, exercising your reason and your judgment and setting aside your feelings and your inclination. You are in a critical condition.'” MOL 55.12 – MOL 56.2


  • You are dying of notions and yet you do not make sufficient efforts to produce a radical change…. Your life would be more secure in self-forgetfulness. God has a work for you and your wife to do. Satan says, “you shall not accomplish the work if I have power to control the mind. I can control everything and bind both as with fetters of iron.” … You can arise. You can throw off this invalidism.'” MOL 56.4


In early July, James left for their Colorado cabin with Dudley Canright and Mary White (William went later). When Ellen met them in August, she wrote: “I find Father every way improved. It is cool here all the time…. Father is himself again in almost all things. He is always cheerful.”


Because of appointments in the east, Ellen White did not stay long in Colorado. Reporting back to James and her children regarding happenings in Battle Creek, she wrote with wifely and motherly zest and wisdom: “Do not regard this time of recreation as a drudgery or a task. Lay aside your work; let the writings go. Go over into the park and see all that you can…. Throw off every burden, and be a carefree boy again…. Father needs to be a boy again. Roam all around. Climb the mountain steeps. Ride horseback. Find something new each day to see and enjoy. This will be for Father’s health. Do not spend any anxious thought on me. You will see how well I will appear after the camp meetings are over…. Strive to make each other happy.”


By 1880 James’s tired body pleaded for rest even though his head kept planning new campaigns. Others were now to take over his chief responsibilities—but retreat for the general was not easy. In a letter to Ellen on April 18, he wrote: “I am considering these things with great care. Whatever the Lord has shown you respecting my duty, take time to write it out carefully and give me the complete idea…. We both see a great deal to do in the line of writing, and our brethren are constantly urging us into the field to speak. In the fear of God, we must take this matter in our own hands, and be our own judges of what we should do and how much.”


On August 6, 1881, “the tired warrior” died. The news stunned Adventists from the Atlantic to the Pacific. No one could review the development of the Adventist Church without thinking of James White. The eulogies, even from those with whom he differed, put the valiant church leader in proper perspective.


Though extremely ill herself, Ellen White rose from her sickbed to laud her “strong, brave, noble-hearted husband.” The messenger wife summed up their life journey together: “And now he upon whose large affections I have leaned, with whom I have labored—and we have been united in labor for thirty-six years—is taken away; but I can lay my hands upon his eyes and say, I commit my treasure to Thee until the morning of the resurrection.” MOL 56.6 – MOL 57.1


The Story of “An Appeal to the Youth”

Ellen White’s first-born, Henry, died at the age of sixteen. He had become the delight of his parents as well as of a host of friends. His noble voice in song was well-known among fellow workers at the Review publishing house. In late November 1863, He caught a cold which turned into pneumonia. He was treated with poisonous drugs—the wisdom of conventional medicine. Ellen and James had used hydrotherapy earlier that year to help two of their sons battle diphtheria, but they were not yet aware of its value in treating pneumonia.


Predictably, Henry failed rapidly. He and his parents talked openly about death. He confessed freely his sins; his faith grew stronger and his confidence in eternal life ever brighter. One morning he said to his mother: “Promise me, Mother, that if I die I may be taken to Battle Creek, and laid by the side of my little brother, John Herbert, that we may come up together in the morning of the resurrection.”


Later, he said to his father, “Father, you are losing your son. You will miss me, but don’t mourn. It is better for me. I shall escape being drafted Civil War, and shall not witness the seven last plagues. To die so happy is a privilege.”


During his last hours, he dictated messages of admonition and assurance to his young friends in Battle Creek. Adelia Patten, a close family friend and one of Ellen White’s helpers, recorded his last moments: “Mother, I shall meet you in heaven in the morning of the resurrection, for I know you will be there.’ He then beckoned to his brothers, parents, and friends, and gave them all a parting kiss, after which he pointed upward and whispered, ‘Heaven is sweet.’ These were his last words.” MOL 57.11 – MOL 58.4


  • After the death of Henry, a small book was published that included Uriah Smith’s funeral sermon, a brief biography, and many of Ellen White’s frequent letters sent to him and his brothers, especially when she was away on church responsibilities. These letters make clear why Henry could die with such peace and confidence in Jesus.


Adelia Patten, who had lived in the White home for nearly two years, helped to assemble this small book, An Appeal to the Youth. She wrote: “They Mrs. White’s letters to her sons were written hastily for her children only, without a thought that they would be made public. This makes them still more worthy of publication, as in them is more clearly seen the real feelings and sentiments of a godly mother.”


In reading these private, intimate family letters, we are reading the heart of a young mother, and later, a seasoned mother, as seldom revealed to others. MOL 58.5 – MOL 58.7


No one is immune when it comes to Parenting

  • In 1862, Ellen, 35, and James 41, were busily trying to balance their church responsibilities with care for their three children, then 15, 13, and 8. In a vision God stepped in to give the parents some needed advice: “I was shown in regard to our family that we had failed in our duty; we had not restrained them. We had indulged them too much, suffered them to follow their own inclinations and desires, and suffered them to indulge in folly…. We are separated from them so much that when we are with them we should perseveringly labor to knit their hearts to us that when we are absent we can have influence over them. I saw that we should instruct them with sobriety and yet with kindness and patience; take an even course. Satan is busy to tempt our children and lead them to be forgetful and to indulge in folly that we may be disheartened and grieved and then take a course to censure and find fault with them in a spirit which will only injure and discourage them instead of helping them.


  • I saw that there had been a wrong in laughing at their sayings and doings and then when they err, bearing down upon them with much severity, even before others, which destroys their fine and sensitive feelings and makes it a common thing to be censured for trifles and mistakes, and places accidents and mistakes upon the same level with sins and actual wrong. Their dispositions will become soured and we shall sever the cord which unites them to us and gives us influence with them…. We have been in danger of expecting our children to have a more perfect experience than their age warrants us to expect….


  • “Our children love us and will yield to reason, and kindness will have a more powerful influence than harsh reproof. The spirit and influence which have surrounded our children require us to restrain them and draw them from young company and deny them privileges that children commonly have enjoyed. If we take the course in these things which it is our duty to take, we should ever have our words and acts perfectly reasonable to our children, that their reflection may not be embittered with harsh words or words spoken in a severe manner. It leaves a wound or sting upon their spirits which destroys their love for their parents and the influence of their parents over them.” MOL 58.9 – MOL 59.2


For Ellen White, her children were high priority. Her diary entries, letters to others and to her sons, all indicate her unending concern for them, especially their spiritual growth. She took their shortcomings as well as her own very seriously. After a difficult encounter with young Edson, she wrote in her diary: “Had an interview with Edson. Felt distressed beyond measure, feeling that it was not conducted wisely.” MOL 59.3


Although Mrs. White is best known as a remarkable public figure, for those who knew her best she was a consistent Christian mother and wife who maintained a close and tender relationship with her husband and children. MOL 60.5


It’s apparent from the biography of James and EGW that


  1. They were not always together for long times. Work separated them


  1. Their marriage was lonelisome


  1. They suffered marital problems. They struggled with the words they spoke and wrote to each other


  1. They struggled with parenting and bad health i.e. In 1856, Ellen White slipped on ice, badly wrenching her ankle, and had to struggle with crutches for six weeks. Rheumatism eventually affected both ankles and bothered her severely till her death. When three months pregnant in March 1860, she, with James, was heading west to Iowa. James’s report in the Review (March 6) was graphic: “We left Battle Creek at 3:00 P.M., changed cars at midnight at Chicago, reached the Mississippi River at 7:00 A.M., crossed the ice on foot, walking behind the baggage drawn on a sleigh by four men, the ice being too weak to bear up horses; and felt relief when we stepped upon Iowa soil.” The first night in Iowa, Ellen White became very ill, vomiting and raising blood. But on she went, through the mud of springtime in Iowa, speaking often in the meetings. After the birth of John Herbert, she slowly regained strength. Six weeks after delivery, she commented in a letter to Lucinda Hall that she was so weak that she crawled up stairs on her knees, that she had “a good cry now and then,” and found that “it does me good.” Barely three months after his birth, the baby died. MOL 64.5 – MOL 64.8. No wonder EGW stopped giving birth in 1860 when still young and able to.


  1. Due to “poor” parenting, only 1, that’s Willie White out of the 4 children was able to make it in life save for Hebert who died after living only for 3 months. Edson struggled much with managing finances.


  1. They never gave up on each other even in later years when James White suffered stroke and developed irritative behavior.


  1. Their weaknesses though did not lessen their devotional life and they used every opportunity to praise God though sometimes James seemed absorbed in thinking about his own sickness and seeking sympathy and attention.


May God have mercy on us who are always whining for smooth rides and are ready to give on every instance of little setbacks


  • One thing is certain: Ellen White never used her physical afflictions as a means of gaining the pity of others. To the contrary, when others saw her cheery spirit and determined resolve under intense physical adversities, they took courage. MOL 65.5


On February 13, Ellen White tripped in her hallway. X-rays revealed an “intracapsular fracture of the left femur at the junction of the head and the neck,” a most painful injury, especially without modern alleviating medication. When asked about pain, she said: “It is not so painful as it might be, but I cannot say that it is comfortable.” Weeks later, when she was asked again about her comfort, she replied: “A good day—in spots.” Her long habit of walking with the Lord was making all the difference. MOL 72.6


Trials? Not many people have known the kind of hard times faced by the Whites. These servant-leaders had been given a divine commission, and they dared not turn to a life of ordinary pursuits.


But think, here was a young family in the winter of 1847-1848 (Henry was born on August 26, 1847) trying to speak and write as God opened the way, yet determined to be financially independent. James, at 26, hauled stone at a railroad cut near Brunswick, Maine, until his hands were bloody, and he cut cord wood, working long hours for 50 cents a day. On a limited “budget,” Ellen, now 20, could afford only a pint of milk per day for herself and Henry. Then she had to eliminate the milk supply for three days so that she could buy a piece of cloth to make Henry a simple garment.


The day came when “their provisions were gone.” James walked three miles and back in the rain to his employer for either his wages or needed supplies. When he returned with a bag of provisions, Ellen recalled: “As he entered the house very weary my heart sank within me. My first feelings were that God had forsaken us. I said to my husband, ‘Have we come to this? Has the Lord left us?’ I could not restrain my tears, and wept aloud for hours until I fainted.” MOL 74.6 – MOL 74.8


Loneliness, even frustration and discouragement, need not shut down a cheery Christian. During a troubling time in the 1860s, when the Whites were in Dansville, New York, seeking help for James’s physical problems, Ellen captured in her diary an earlier conversation: “It is the want of genuine religion that produces gloom, despondency, and sadness…. A half service, loving the world, loving self, loving frivolous amusements, make a timid, cowardly servant. Such follow Christ a great way off. A hearty, willing service to Jesus produces a sunny religion. Those who follow Christ the most closely have not been gloomy.” MOL 77.2


People can be happy though lonely. Ellen White’s ability to manifest this truth permeates the historical record and vouches for her declaration in Great Grimsby, England, in 1886:


“I do not look to the end for all the happiness; I get happiness as I go along. Notwithstanding I have trials and afflictions, I look away to Jesus. It is in the strait, hard places that He is right by our side, and we can commune with Him, and lay all our burdens upon the Burden Bearer, and say, ‘Here, Lord, I cannot carry these burdens any longer.'” MOL 77.3 – MOL 77.4


James White and Ellen White struggle with poverty, no salaries without murmuring. Reasons? The work to go forward. Many people who profess to be seventh-day Adventists do not have a clue how the work began or how it’s going to be finished.


The Early Life

The Whites began housekeeping in poverty. In 1848 they left the Howland family, in Topsham, Maine, where they had lived in the upstairs rooms, to attend a conference of Sabbath keeping Adventists in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, the first of many conferences to come. How did they plan to pay their way? James had earned ten dollars for cutting wood; half was spent on preparing the young family of three for the trip, and the other half was for transportation to Boston and the Otis Nichols home. Although they had not said a word about their financial circumstances, Mrs. Mary Nichols gave them five dollars. After they bought their train tickets to Middletown, Connecticut, they had 50 cents to spare. They had to face similar economic challenges many times in the years that followed. MOL 80.4


Midwinter 1851 the Whites were invited to speak at a conference in Waterbury, Vermont. They had already lent Charlie, their faithful horse, and carriage to S. W. Rhodes and J. N. Andrews so these two preachers could meet appointments in Canada and northern Vermont. Along the way the Whites met a poor believer whom they encouraged to attend the conference. To make it possible, they gave him their train fare to help buy a horse—so that all three could ride in a sleigh together. Soon they met another believer and gave him five dollars to pay his fare on the train. The Whites continued in an open sleigh without blanket or buffalo robe in Vermont cold. Ellen wrote: “We suffered much.” MOL 80.5


In the summer of 1852 the publishing office was established in Rochester, New York. All the printing equipment plus the meager household furniture was sent west from Maine on borrowed money. The Whites set up the publishing house in their own home—not only the printing equipment but living quarters for all the workers. No one except the non-Adventist press foreman received wages beyond a small allowance for clothing and other expenses that “were deemed absolutely necessary.” James brought home six old chairs, no two alike. He soon added four more, each without seating. Ellen made the seats. Potatoes and butter cost too much; their first meals were served on a board placed upon two flour barrels. Ellen noted: “We are willing to endure privations if the work of God can be advanced.” MOL 80.6 – MOL 81.1


Ellen White taught by example in Europe. After landing at Calais, France, she and her traveling companions discovered that a sleeping compartment on the train to Basel would cost $11 apiece. Ever frugal, they decided to make do in the seats. She commented: “A bed was made for me between the seats on the top of the satchels and telescope boxes. I rested some, but slept little…. We were not sorry to have the night pass.” MOL 81.3


On a trip from Melbourne to Geelong, forty miles southwest, the party took the slow boat for eighteen pence round-trip each, rather than the train for eight shillings each. Writing later, Mrs. White wrote: “A penny saved is as good as a penny earned.” MOL 81.8


  • Ellen White was frugal because she wanted to contribute as much as she could to hard-pressed people as well as to the growing needs of the young Seventh-day Adventist Church. MOL 81.9


In a sermon delivered at the 1891General Conference session, after James had been dead for ten years, she wrote: “For years we received no wages, except barely enough to furnish us with the plainest food and clothing. We were glad to wear second-hand clothes, and sometimes we had hardly food enough to sustain our strength. Everything else was put into the work.” MOL 81.11 – MOL 82.1


One cannot review the history of the Adventist Church in Australia without noting that Ellen White was generous, to a fault. In 1892 Australia was sinking into an economic depression. Adventist believers were fewer than 1,000. Yet Mrs. White’s constant motto was “Advance,” which, at first, meant a school near Melbourne. Funds were nonexistent, but she decided to use $1,000 from the royalty of foreign books sold in America, funds that were already committed elsewhere. MOL 82.3


While funds were being raised in Parramatta for the first church building owned by Seventh-day Adventists in continental Australia, a gift of $45 from California was sent to Ellen White. Her friends wanted her to have a comfortable chair during her painful illness. But she promptly put it into the Parramatta building fund, explaining to her thoughtful friends that she wished them to feel that they too had something invested in Australia. MOL 82.4


When church funds were low in 1906, she donated royalties from her book The Ministry of Healing (sold in the eastern United States) for construction of the Washington Sanitarium (now Washington Adventist Hospital) in Takoma Park, Maryland. All of the royalties from Ministry of Healing went to relieve the indebtedness of the church’s medical institutions. MOL 83.3


The men liked to recall the compelling leadership of James and how he would say to his wife, “Ellen, talk is cheap; but the thing that counts is what you and I can give. It is good to sympathize with these folk, but the result of our sympathy is determined by how deep we dig into our pocketbooks.” MOL 83.4




70yrs of ministerial work without any idle moments

In 1854, now seven months pregnant, she and James returned to their Rochester home from a busy seven-week journey through Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The trip included many speaking appointments, counseling with evangelists regarding better methods, traveling nights by train, and a train wreck that involved a premonition to change cars (their first car was “much broken”).


But they returned in time for a four-day conference in their home, representatives coming from western New York, Pennsylvania, and Canada. Ellen White sighed, “We returned … much worn, desiring rest…. Without rest we were obliged to engage in the meeting.”


Throughout her vigorous schedule of speaking, traveling, and writing continually, Ellen White supervised a busy home schedule. She generally had more boarders than her immediate family. A diary entry for January 28, 1868, written at their Greenville, Michigan, home, is typical: “Brother J. O. Corliss (a young convert) helped me to prepare breakfast. Everything we touched was frozen. All things in our cellar were frozen. We prepared frozen turnips and potatoes. After prayer, Brother Corliss went into the woods near Thomas Wilson’s to get wood. James, accompanied by Brother J. N. Andrews, went to Orleans, expecting to return to dinner.


“I baked eight pans of gems, swept rooms, washed dishes, helped Willie age 13 put snow in boiler, which requires many tubsful. We have no well water or cistern. Arranged my clothes press closet. Felt weary; rested a few minutes. Got dinner for Willie and me. Just as we got through, my husband and Brother Andrews drove up. Had had no dinner. I started cooking again. Soon got them something to eat. Nearly all day has thus been spent—not a line written. I feel sad about this. Am exceedingly weary. My head is tired.”


While their new Battle Creek home was being constructed in late 1868, the Whites were meeting appointments in the eastern states. James shared with readers of the Review and Herald the relief he felt after returning home on December 30, 1868: “We found a convenient and pleasant house built at Battle Creek for us, and partly furnished with goods moved from our Greenville home in Montcalm County. This place seems like home. Here we find rest in several senses of the word. We had become tired of meetings, tired of traveling, tired of speaking, tired of visiting, and tired of the business cares incident to an absence from home, living, as it were, in our trunks nearly one-third of the year. Here we find quiet for the present.” Later in the article he noted that sixty letters awaited them, all to be opened and answered! MOL 84.9 – MOL 85.5


For instance, the Kansas camp meeting, late May, 1876, where Ellen was to meet James. She was coming from the west coast, all the while busy writing the first volume on the life of Christ. Her train, instead of arriving on Friday after six days of endurance, was delayed. She arrived on the campgrounds early Sabbath morning, after a twenty-mile, farm-wagon trip over rough roads. James wrote in the Signs of the Times : “Weary, of course, short of sleep, and trembling with nervous headache, she takes the speaker’s stand at half past ten and is wonderfully sustained in her effort.”


Ellen White spoke several times in the evening meetings and on Tuesday morning was up at 4 o’clock for a “precious social parting meeting.”


  • By July 4 the Whites had spoken many times at six camp meetings! Before going on to the Ohio camp meeting, they dashed home to Battle Creek to catch their breath. Ellen wrote to William and Mary (married early that year) describing the Fourth of July celebration: “Some things were really interesting and some ridiculous, but I cannot write. I have kept on the strain so long I am now finding my level and I am not very intelligent. We cannot, Father, Mary Clough, or myself, do anything now. We are debilitated and run down like an old clock.” MOL 85.6 – MOL 85.8


A few days later they headed east for the next series of camp meetings. At Norwalk, Ohio, 2,500 people; at Groveland, Massachusetts, an estimated 20,000 (the largest audience Ellen White addressed). Writing to William during this tour, she commented like a mother: “Your father and your mother are worked down. I am looking old and poor sic for the very reason that there is no rest for us. We work hard. Your father does the work of three men at all these meetings. I never saw a man work so energetically, so constantly, as your father. God does give him more than mortal energy. If there is any place that is hard, your father takes it.” MOL 86.1


From Alma they spent the next two months traveling week by week to camp meetings. These included Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Ohio, Indiana, and the national camp meeting at Battle Creek, Michigan, October 2 and 9. At most of them they stayed three to five days, but always Sabbath and Sunday. All this, not in automobiles over paved highways, but on those early trains and other tiresome conveyances—a feat that would weary the hardiest traveler today riding in the most comfortable cars or buses. MOL 86.4


Throughout these busy years Ellen White was supplying the Review and Herald and Signs of the Times with scores of articles annually. The writing of volume 4 of the Spirit of Prophecy, (The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan) though slowed down by her many speaking appointments, was always on her mind.


Early in 1884, however, she determined to finish this pressing manuscript: “I am writing every day. Mean to get my book finished next month, and can scarcely write a letter, I am so intent on this matter.”


Writing to Harriet Smith, Uriah’s wife, she penned this personal touch: “As I write upon my book I feel intensely moved. I want to get it out as soon as possible, for our people need it so much. I shall complete it next month if the Lord gives me health as He has done. I have been unable to sleep nights, thinking of the important things to take place. Three hours’ sleep, and sometimes five, is the most I get. My mind is stirred so deeply I cannot rest. Write, write, write, I feel that I must, and not delay.”


  • Before she could finish, she met three camp meeting appointments. During the final few weeks, she wrote to William to bring her “another good fountain pen.” MOL 86.5 – MOL 86.8


Enduring Slander

Very few public persons have had to endure slander as often as James and Ellen White. More than once, charges were made that the Whites unduly profited from their many business dealings. How quickly forgotten was their unparalleled channeling of funds to new projects, ranging from church buildings, health institutions, and publishing houses, to the newest educational institution! For much of her ministry, Ellen White did not receive a salary. For many years, the Whites covered their own travel expenses. They bore all the costs for household helpers who assisted in caring for their many boarders and visitors. In addition, they paid editorial assistants from personal funds. MOL 87.5 – MOL 87.6


An interesting example of Ellen White’s perseverance occurred when her son Willie was twenty months old. Young Willie was playing with a “boat” in the kitchen near a large pail of mop water. His caretaker left the room momentarily to get wood for the fire. When she returned she saw only one little foot sticking out of the dirty water. She pulled the child out of the pail, then screamed to his mother that her son had drowned.


James was called for, as well as a physician. But Ellen was busy rolling Willie on the grass, forcing the water from his body. A neighbor urged James: “Take that dead baby out of that woman’s hands.”


  • “No,” he replied, “it is her child, and no one shall take it away from her.” Twenty minutes went by. Then Ellen White saw a flick of the eyelid and a little pucker in his lips. Soon he was in his crib, wrapped with heated cloths. The mother did not give up. Years later, she said of Willie that God had shown her that he was born to be her helper after her husband died. And so he was. MOL 88.3 – MOL 88.5


As a Counselor

EGW as a counselor and medical missionary was practical and didn’t believe in presumptuous faith or depend on miracles. Use the tactic God has given. This is a woman when people had believed James would die worked for his recovery successful. She loved the husband and everyone.


Mary and John Loughborough were close friends of the Whites, both families fully committed to the Adventist assignment. Both had lost a child in the early 1860s. The two young mothers often exchanged thoughts and feelings. In June 1861, Mary (in her twenties) had written Ellen (now 33), asking her opinion regarding the latest fashion—wearing hoops. After sharing her counsel, Ellen used the opportunity to say something not easy to say: “Dear Mary, let your influence tell for God. You must take a position to exert an influence over others to bring them up in spirituality….


  • “And Mary, suffer me a little upon this point. I wish in all sisterly and motherly kindness to kindly warn you upon another point: I have often noticed before others a manner you have in speaking to John in rather a dictating manner, the tone of your voice sounding impatient. Mary, others notice this and have spoken of it to me. It hurts your influence….


  • “I have said more perhaps upon this point than necessary. Please watch this point. I am not reproving you, remember, but merely cautioning you. Never talk to John as though he were a little boy. You reverence him, and others will take an elevated position, Mary, and you will elevate others.


  • “Seek to be spiritually minded. We are doing work for eternity. Mary, be an example. We love you as one of our children, and I wish so much that you and John may prosper…. Please write me, Mary, fully. Tell me all your joys, trials, disappointments, et cetera. In much love, Ellen G. White.”


We observe a beautiful example of Mrs. White’s enduring tactfulness while she was caring for her husband in northern Michigan in 1866/1867. James was in deep depression following serious nervous exhaustion due to overwork. He felt he had no future. Ellen, contrary to the opinions of all others including physicians, believed that trust in God, exercise, and a proper diet would offer her husband his best chance to recover. Each day they took a long walk until the first heavy snow came. James used the snowflakes as an excuse to stop walking! MOL 89.7 – MOL 90.1


Not for long. Ellen went to Brother Root, with whom they were staying, and asked to borrow a spare pair of boots. Then she trudged a quarter of a mile in the deep snow. Returning, she asked her husband to take their usual walk. He replied that no one could walk in that weather.


  • “Oh, yes, you can,” Ellen replied. “Surely you can step in my tracks.” James, a man who had great respect for women, saw her tracks—and that morning “he took his usual walk.”


Ellen White perceived that her husband also needed to exercise his brain. But he did not want to speak to anyone outside of the home. So she worked out a tactful plan. When a visitor would come with troubling questions, she would quickly invite him in before James could excuse himself. Then she would say, “Husband, here is a brother who has come to ask a question, and as you can answer it much better than I can, I have brought him to you.”


James remained in the room long enough to answer the question. Such ploys kept him exercising his mind and he slowly improved. When special spiritual leadership was required in Wright, Michigan, the Whites’ local church, Ellen provided much counsel, but “she was careful to see that her husband led out.”


Later in 1867, the White family moved to their Greenville, Michigan, farm, again to help James recover his health. In preparing their garden, Mrs. White asked young Willie to buy three hoes and three rakes. James objected to his rake and hoe, but she took hers and began to work, blistering her hands. Reluctantly James followed, going through the motions. But soon he was harnessing the horses and buying house materials. He reported that he was beginning to sleep well at night and to awaken each morning refreshed. The faithful wife’s planning, perseverance, and tact were working, though slowly. MOL 90.2 – MOL 90.7


When July came, the hay was ready for cutting. James arranged with the neighbors to cut the hay and expected them to return later to stack it for winter. But his wife had a better plan. She went to these same neighbors and told them to excuse themselves, which they resisted at first.


When James’s call for help went out, all the neighbors excused themselves as being too busy. James was very disappointed, but Ellen, with typical cheerfulness, suggested that she and Willie would rake the hay and pitch it on the wagon if James would load it and drive the horses. But how would the stack be built?


The neighbors were astonished to see that little five-foot-two woman stamping the hay and building the stack while her husband pitched hay from the wagon.


What was happening to James? He reported to Review readers: “I have worked from six to twelve hours each day, and have enjoyed blessed sleep from six to nine hours each night…. My work has been haying, plowing, grading about the house, hoeing, and putting down carpets.” Ellen’s tact and courageous, resolute spirit prodded James into recovering his health. MOL 90.8 – MOL 90.11


Often when listening people talk and write about EGW, you get an impression of a prophet of doom, a woman who was always ready to rebuke. This is not what her biography reveals. She was without jokes but her seeming stern admonitions were filled with humor where severe rebukes were not called for


Principled Humor

In 1882 she had just moved from Oakland to Healdsburg. At 55 she enjoyed buying grain and hay, a cow with its calf, and horses for farm work and transportation. One of her horses she named Dolly—a horse that seemed allergic to work. Ellen White wrote, “She stares at the mountains and hills as if she was a tourist viewing the scenery.”


In 1885 she was sailing for Europe on the S.S. Cephalonia, which was to depart on Sabbath. Her party made arrangements to embark on Friday afternoon in order to be settled for the Sabbath. She noted in her diary, “We accomplished this nearly.”


While in Italy, 1886, she was writing about the ministerial personnel in Torre Pellice. The minister in charge was great on planning, but was accomplishing little. Ellen White depicted his efforts as “the array of Quaker guns.”


A few months later, still in Italy, she was enjoying some sunny days after a stretch of rain, and wrote in her diary: “We drove very slowly, for the horse, although strong, had no idea of hurting his constitution.”


After a boat trip, she penned, “When I got off the boat, when I walked up through the streets, it seemed to me as though I was still on the boat, and I would step so high that people must have thought I was drunk.”


Ellen White’s oldest brother, John, apparently was a poor correspondent. In a January 21, 1873, letter to him, Ellen gently chided him with humor: “Dear Brother John: I have written you several letters but have not heard one word from you. We concluded you must be dead, but then again we thought if this was the case, your children would write us.”


She showed her humor as well as her practical bent when she wrote about the careless dress of certain women: “Their clothing often looks as if it flew and lit upon their persons.” Or, “Sisters when about their work should not put on clothing which would make them look like images to frighten the crows from the corn.”


At the time when Ellen White was issuing warnings to safeguard the ownership of the Battle Creek Tabernacle she received a letter from A. T. Jones challenging her to provide the names of those involved in the effort to take control of the property. Realizing the true intent of his request, Ellen White responded to her secretary, Dores Robinson, that “if she should write to Brother Jones at all, she would tell him that everything is written in the books of heaven, but she does not have these books at her disposal to send him.”


Mrs. White knew how to handle potentially embarrassing public moments. Son Willie frequently assisted his mother in her speaking tours. During a Sabbath sermon in St. Helena, California, Willie sat on the platform while his mother spoke. Noticing a ripple of suppressed laughter in the audience, Mrs. White turned to find him taking a nap. She apologized with a touch of humor: “When Willie was a baby, I used to take him into the pulpit and let him sleep in a basket beneath the pulpit, and he has never gotten over the habit.”


In her late years at Elmshaven, Ellen White was given cold-mitten friction treatments. That meant standing in a tub while someone applied cold water and then rubbed her with mittens to increase circulation. Twice a week she was given a salt rub (“salt glow”). One day, sensing a difference in the liquid, she wet her finger and tasted it. The worker had used sugar by mistake! With good humor, Ellen White observed: “Just trying to sweeten me up, huh?” MOL 94.3 – MOL 95.4





Counsels on the Age of joining School

One of the soundest principles for getting a picture of Ellen White (as well as the intent of her writings) is to study the time, place, and circumstance that governed what she wrote.


In other words, Ellen White’s plea throughout her ministry was for common sense. For example, the constituency for the church school at St. Helena, California, in 1904, had a problem. Some strongly felt that no provision should be made for children under the age of ten. Why? Because Mrs. White had counseled some years earlier that “parents should be the only teachers of their children until they have reached eight or ten years of age.” Others felt that some children would be better off in school than roaming the village while their parents either worked at the hospital or for other reasons were unable to supervise their children.


The problem was not confined to St. Helena; church schools were being established throughout the world wherever Adventists planted churches. So the question everywhere was: What shall we do with Mrs. White’s counsel regarding when to start children in school?


Ellen White was at that St. Helena school board meeting (it was held in her home at Elmshaven) and took the initiative in resolving the impasse. She reviewed her frequently emphasized counsel regarding parental responsibilities and firm discipline in the home. Then she indicated that she too had observed parental neglect, with certain children running loose (especially on the sanitarium grounds), “sharp-eyed, lynx-eyed, wandering about with nothing to do … getting into mischief” not the best recommendation of Adventist decorum before the sanitarium guests!


Under the circumstances, she said: “The very best thing that can be done is to have a school … for those who should have the restraining influence upon them which a schoolteacher should exert.”


Then she explained her earlier statements about holding children out of school until they are ten—a teaching that some were faithfully trying to implement. She spoke clearly: “I wanted to tell you that there was not a Sabbath keeping school when the light was given to me that the children should not attend school until they were old enough to be instructed. They should be taught at home to know what proper manners were when they went to school, and not be led astray. The wickedness carried on in the common schools is almost beyond conception. That is how it is.”


She went further, expressing her concern about those who make an unreasonable application of her writings: “My mind has been greatly stirred in regard to the idea, ‘Why, Sister White has said so and so, … and therefore we are going right up to it.’ God wants us all to have common sense, and He wants us to reason from common sense. Circumstances alter conditions. Circumstances change the relation of things.” MOL 95.5 – MOL 96.2


Along with key words that best describe the real Ellen White, we must include “common sense.” The principles she disclosed were clear, timely, and timeless. But applying them required sanctified common sense. Ellen White understood well the ellipse of truth. She knew that theology without common sense and a corresponding life style could create prejudice against the gospel. Throughout her writings she emphasized that word and deed, doctrine and life, should never be separated. Common sense is not to negate Bible counsel; sanctified common sense applies immutable truths to the human situation, taking all circumstances into account. Common sense does not lower God’s instructions regarding human thought and behavior; it lifts people up to them, within the capabilities and possibilities of time, place, and circumstance. Principles are timeless; applying them requires common sense. On one occasion when asked about certain Sabbath school practices, Ellen White answered: “Exactly; it is not the place for it. That is to be done; but it has its time and place.” For example, she wrote extensively about health principles. She stated clearly certain health practices that were far in advance of the conventional thinking of her day. But these principles must be understood and applied through common sense.


Counsels on Health and Medical Missionary Work

Regarding eating two meals a day, she wrote: “Some eat three meals a day, when two would be more conducive to physical and spiritual health.” But she also wrote: “The practice of eating but two meals a day is generally found a benefit to health; yet under some circumstances persons may require a third meal.” Further revealing her common sense, she wrote in 1903: “I eat only two meals a day. But I do not think that the number of meals should be made a test. If there are those who are better in health when eating three meals, it is their privilege to have three.” MOL 96.3 – MOL 96.8


Medical Missionary and taking other physicians formula, prescription and methods rigidly


Practical counsel was often needed in the treatment of the sick. Professor Herbert Lacey, leading out in the school program at Avondale early in 1897, was quickly devastated by typhoid fever. He lost twenty pounds in one week; his vitality was low and his fever high. Convinced of Dr. Kellogg’s success with hydro-therapy, the medical team applied ice to reduce the fever and to restore circulation in “his bowels.” Hearing of this, Ellen White dashed off a telegram to the medical workers: “Use no ice, but hot applications.”


Why did she do this, and do it with dispatch? She saw too many dying of typhoid, largely because of conventional drugs that wasted the patient’s ability to overcome the enervation brought on by the drugs. But she also knew that hydrotherapy should be used wisely. With Lacey’s low vitality, ice on his head and body would further weaken him.


Mrs. White later wrote of this serious event: “I was not going to be so delicate in regard to the physician as to permit Herbert Lacey’s life to be put out…. There might be cases where the ice applications would work well. But books with prescriptions that are followed to the letter in regard to ice applications should have further explanations, that persons with low vitality should use hot in the place of cold…. To go just as the book of Dr. Kellogg shall direct without considering the subject is simply wild.” MOL 98.6 – MOL 98.8


  • “Those who take the lives of others in their hands, must be men who have been marked as making life a success. They must be men of judgment and wisdom. They must be men who can sympathize, and feel to the depths—men whose whole being is stirred when they witness suffering. Some men who have been unsuccessful in every other enterprise in life, take up the business of a physician. They take the lives of men and women in their hands, when they have had no experience. They will read a plan somebody has followed with success, and adopt it, and will practice upon those who have confidence in them, and actually destroy the spark of life that is left in them, yet do not, after all learn any thing, but will go on as sanguine in the next case, observing the same rigid treatment. Some may have a power of constitution to withstand the terrible tax imposed upon them, and live. Then the novices take the glory to themselves when none is due them. Everything is due to God and a powerful constitution. PH101 18.1 “


Another custom which has been instituted is, that which requires all to keep their places at the table till the last one has finished. But this makes eating a burden to those who eat no more than they feel their stomachs can properly care for. Health reformers need not observe these inventions of fashion. If you are where those eating to excess continually pass the tempting dishes, it is well to break human rules and pass quietly from the table. {SpM 42.2}


There has been a disconnection between the gospel and medical missionary but there is an outcry the temple of the Lord the temple of the Lord and working in regular lines but what saith the Lord:


KJV Jeremiah 7:3-4

  • 3 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. 4 Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.


When Edson’s letters presented the work that he was doing in the Southern field by his boat, used as a meetinghouse, when he told of the gathering of the children for Sunday school, of the invitations he received to hold meetings, of the souls who were becoming interested in these meetings, of the naked to be clothed and the sick to be helped—and nothing in the way of means to carry forward the work—the work that should be done was presented to me in the night season. Not only was there presented to me the field in which he was at work, but several places where, in the providence of God, he would be called to work. The eager faces, the earnest desire, the hunger of soul expressed, were before me, and I said, “What can we do for this people that are now so interested, when the situation is so discouraging?”


My Guide said, “This work will be sowing seed for time and for eternity.” And then the instruction was given, “The angels of the Lord will go before him. He will be accounted out of line. But many ought to be out of the lines that have been maintained to be the regular routine, and unless they themselves come into line, they will say, ‘The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we.’ Unless that temple is purified, cleansed, sanctified, God will not give them His presence in the temple of which they boast”….(Those who claim to believe the truth do not possess that power that God would bestow upon them if they really believed, and were striving for conformity to His image. The church is in the Laodicean state. The presence of God is not in her midst. If Christ were formed within, the hope of glory, conformity to His image would be seen, and the church trials which separate the members from Christ would disappear…. 1NL 99.4)


  • The situation was again presented, and the urgency of occupying the fields that were presented to me, then being worked under the supervision of God, using Edson White as His agency to open the field. But there were no others that would think of touching that portion of the field or would engage in working it. Those who should have rejoiced to see something done were determined to give no recognition to Edson White or the work, because he did not work in the regular lines. God has presented before you how He regarded the regular lines. The regular lines had need to be broken as a potter’s vessel is broken, and reconstructed.—Manuscript 29, 1903, 1, 3. (General manuscript, “The Southern Work,” Undated.) 3MR 264.1 – 3MR 264.3


“Phariseeism in the Christian world today is not extinct. The Lord desires to break up the course of precision which has become so firmly established, which has hindered instead of advancing his work.”


“He desires His people to remember that there is a large space over which the light of present truth is to be shed. Divine wisdom must have abundant room in which to work. It is to advance without asking permission or support from those who have taken to themselves a kingly power. In the past one set of men have tried to keep in their own hands the control of all the means coming from the churches, and have used this means in a most disproportionate manner, erecting expensive buildings where such large buildings were unnecessary and uncalled for, and leaving needy places without help or encouragement. They have taken upon themselves the grave responsibility of retarding the work where the work should have been advanced. It has been left to a few supposed kingly minds to say what fields should be worked and what fields should be left unworked.”


“A few men have kept the truth in circumscribed channels, because to open new fields would call for money. Only in those places in which they were interested have they been willing to invest means. And at the same time, in a few places, five times as much money as was necessary has been invested in buildings. The same amount of money used in establishing plants in places where the truth had never been introduced would have brought many souls to a saving knowledge of Christ.


“For years the same routine, the same ‘regular way’ of working has been followed, and God’s work has been greatly hindered. The narrow plans that have been followed by those who did not have clear, sanctified judgment have resulted in a showing that is not approved by God.”


  • “God calls for a revival and a reformation. The ‘regular lines’ have not done the work which God desires to see accomplished. Let revival and reformation make constant changes. Something has been done in this line, but let not the work stop here. No; let every yoke be broken. Let men awaken to the realization that they have an individual responsibility. “The present showing is sufficient to prove to all who have the true missionary spirit that the ‘regular lines’ may prove a failure and a snare. God helping His people, the circle of kings who dared to take such great responsibilities shall never again exercise their unsanctified power in the so-called ‘regular lines.’ Too much power has been invested in unrevived, unreformed, human agencies.” GCB April 11, 1903


Jesus sends his people a message of warning to prepare them for his coming. To the prophet John was made known the closing work in the great plan of man’s redemption. He beheld an angel flying “in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his Judgment is come; and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” Revelation 14:6, 7.


The angel represented in prophecy as delivering this message, symbolizes a class of faithful men, who, obedient to the promptings of God’s Spirit and the teachings of his word, proclaim this warning to the inhabitants of earth. This message was not to be committed to the religious leaders of the people. They had failed to preserve their connection with God, and had refused the light from Heaven; therefore they were not of the number described by the apostle Paul: “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day; we are not of the night nor of darkness.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4, 5. 4SP 199.2 – 4SP 199.3


A Denominational Curse

Any structure without a right arm whether physical or structural will accomplish nothing. No wonder the third angel’s message has slipped out of our hands and we have to blindly hover in the wilderness.


Perhaps the greatest disappointment in 1901 was the inability to bring into the church structure the International Medical Missionary and Benevolent Association headed by Dr. J. H. Kellogg—a problem that would become the denomination’s most critical crisis up to that time. MOL 185.1


  • You will never be ministers after the gospel order till you show a decided interest in medical missionary work, the gospel of healing and blessing and strengthening. Come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty powers of darkness, that it be not said of you, “Curse ye Meroz, … curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord.” Judges 5:23…. CH 533.2


  • The medical missionary work is to be to the work of the church as the right arm to the body. The third angel goes forth proclaiming the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. The medical missionary work is the gospel in practice. All lines of work are to be harmoniously blended in giving the invitation: “Come; for all things are now ready.” 8T 77.2


  • Again and again I have been instructed that the medical missionary work is to bear the same relation to the work of the third angel’s message that the arm and hand bear to the body. Under the direction of the divine Head they are to work unitedly in preparing the way for the coming of Christ. The right arm of the body of truth is to be constantly active, constantly at work, and God will strengthen it. But it is not to be made the body. At the same time the body is not to say to the arm: “I have no need of thee.” The body has need of the arm in order to do active, aggressive work. Both have their appointed work, and each will suffer great loss if worked independently of the other. 6T 288.1


This is an element that gives character to the work for this time. The medical missionary work is as the right arm to the third angel’s message which must be proclaimed to a fallen world; and physicians, managers, and workers in any line, in acting faithfully their part, are doing the work of the message. Thus the sound of the truth will go forth to every nation and kindred and tongue and people. In this work the heavenly angels bear a part. They awaken spiritual joy and melody in the hearts of those who have been freed from suffering, and thanksgiving to God arises from the lips of many who have received the precious truth. 6T 229.2


We now ask those who shall be chosen as presidents of our conferences to make a right beginning in places where nothing has been done. Recognize the medical missionary work as God’s helping hand. As His appointed agency it is to have room and encouragement. Medical missionaries are to have as much encouragement as any accredited evangelist. Pray with these workers. Counsel with them if they need counsel. Do not dampen their zeal and energy. Be sure by your own consecration and devotion to keep a high standard before them. Laborers are greatly needed in the Lord’s vineyard, and not a word of discouragement should be spoken to those who consecrate themselves to the work.—Medical Ministry, 240, 241 (1901).


  • The medical missionary workers are doing the long-neglected work which God gave to the church in Battle Creek—they are giving the last call to the supper which He has prepared. My brethren, why do you keep so many things bound up in Battle Creek? Why do you not take the tract and missionary work into other cities, where there is much missionary work to be done? The many interests centering in Battle Creek should be divided and subdivided, and placed in other cities. You who think you are wise men may say: “It will cost too much. We can do the work here in Battle Creek at less expense.” Well, does not the Lord know all this? Is not He a God who understands all the unbelieving reasoning that holds so many interests in Battle Creek? He has revealed to you that centers should be made in all the cities. This would call many out of Battle Creek to work in other places. In order to be carried forward aright, the medical missionary work needs talent. It requires strong, willing hands, and wise, discriminating management. But can this be while those in responsible places—presidents of conferences and ministers—bar the way? The Lord says to the presidents of conferences and to other influential brethren: “Remove the stumbling blocks that have been placed before the people.” 8T 71.1 – 8T 71.5


We should feel deeply over these things, for they are true. We should have a high estimate of truth and of the value of souls. Time is short, and there is a great work to be done. If you feel no interest in the work that is going forward, if you will not encourage medical missionary work in the churches, it will be done without your consent; for it is the work of God, and it must be done. My brethren and sisters, take your position on the Lord’s side and be earnest, active, courageous co-workers with Christ, laboring with Him to seek and save the lost. 8T 75.2


There is enough wealth in your conference to carry forward this work successfully; and shall the prince of darkness be left in undisputed possession of our great cities because it costs something to sustain missions? Let those who would follow Christ fully come up to the work, even if it be over the heads of ministers and president. Those who in such a work as this will say, “I pray thee have me excused,” should beware lest they receive their discharge for time and for eternity. Let Christians who love duty lift every ounce they can and then look to God for further strength. He will work through the efforts of thoroughgoing men and women and will do what they cannot do. New light and power will be given them as they use what they have. New fervor and zeal will stir the church as they see something accomplished. 5T 369.2


Proven Effective Methods of Evangelism

  • “If young men would enter the field public ministry, in nowise discourage them; but first let them learn the trade.” As James White stated, it was always “a disgrace to Seventh-day Adventists to do a second-class job in anything.” MOL 212.5


Door-to-door selling of books, personal Bible studies, workers’ meetings to teach personal evangelism, utilization of health education to arouse public interest, printed Bible studies, evangelistic journals, contacting business and professional leaders, finding suitable sites for public meetings—all came together in the Haskells’ program for New York in the early 1900s. MOL 213.7


KJV James 1:27

  • 27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.


We are living in the midst of an “epidemic of crime,” at which thoughtful, God-fearing men everywhere stand aghast. The corruption that prevails, it is beyond the power of the human pen to describe. Every day brings fresh revelations of political strife, bribery, and fraud. Every day brings its heart-sickening record of violence and lawlessness, of indifference to human suffering, of brutal, fiendish destruction of human life. Every day testifies to the increase of insanity, murder, and suicide. Who can doubt that satanic agencies are at work among men with increasing activity to distract and corrupt the mind, and defile and destroy the body?


And while the world is filled with these evils, the gospel is too often presented in so indifferent a manner as to make but little impression upon the consciences or the lives of men. Everywhere there are hearts crying out for something which they have not. They long for a power that will give them mastery over sin, a power that will deliver them from the bondage of evil, a power that will give health and life and peace. Many who once knew the power of God’s word have dwelt where there is no recognition of God, and they long for the divine presence.


The world needs today what it needed nineteen hundred years ago—a revelation of Christ. A great work of reform is demanded, and it is only through the grace of Christ that the work of restoration, physical, mental, and spiritual, can be accomplished.


Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, “Follow Me.”


There is need of coming close to the people by personal effort. If less time were given to sermonizing, and more time were spent in personal ministry, greater results would be seen. The poor are to be relieved, the sick cared for, the sorrowing and the bereaved comforted, the ignorant instructed, the inexperienced counseled. We are to weep with those that weep, and rejoice with those that rejoice. Accompanied by the power of persuasion, the power of prayer, the power of the love of God, this work will not, cannot, be without fruit. MH 142.4 – MH 143.4


We should ever remember that the object of the medical missionary work is to point sin-sick men and women to the Man of Calvary, who taketh away the sin of the world. By beholding Him, they will be changed into His likeness. We are to encourage the sick and suffering to look to Jesus and live. Let the workers keep Christ, the Great Physician, constantly before those to whom disease of body and soul has brought discouragement. Point them to the One who can heal both physical and spiritual disease. Tell them of the One who is touched with the feeling of their infirmities. Encourage them to place themselves in the care of Him who gave His life to make it possible for them to have life eternal. Talk of His love; tell of His power to save.


This is the high duty and precious privilege of the medical missionary. And personal ministry often prepares the way for this. God often reaches hearts through our efforts to relieve physical suffering. Medical missionary work is the pioneer work of the gospel. In the ministry of the word and in the medical missionary work the gospel is to be preached and practiced.


In almost every community there are large numbers who do not listen to the preaching of God’s word or attend any religious service. If they are reached by the gospel, it must be carried to their homes. Often the relief of their physical needs is the only avenue by which they can be approached. Missionary nurses who care for the sick and relieve the distress of the poor will find many opportunities to pray with them, to read to them from God’s word, and to speak of the Saviour. They can pray with and for the helpless ones who have not strength of will to control the appetites that passion has degraded. They can bring a ray of hope into the lives of the defeated and disheartened. Their unselfish love, manifested in acts of disinterested kindness, will make it easier for these suffering ones to believe in the love of Christ.


Many have no faith in God and have lost confidence in man. But they appreciate acts of sympathy and helpfulness. As they see one with no inducement of earthly praise or compensation come into their homes, ministering to the sick, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, comforting the sad, and tenderly pointing all to Him of whose love and pity the human worker is but the messenger—as they see this, their hearts are touched. Gratitude springs up. Faith is kindled. They see that God cares for them, and they are prepared to listen as His word is opened.


Whether in foreign missions or in the home field, all missionaries, both men and women, will gain much more ready access to the people, and will find their usefulness greatly increased, if they are able to minister to the sick. Women who go as missionaries to heathen lands may thus find opportunity for giving the gospel to the women of these lands, when every other door of access is closed. All gospel workers should know how to give the simple treatments that do so much to relieve pain and remove disease. MH 144.1 – MH 145.2


Confounding the Doubters

Sometimes delivering a testimony was unusually dramatic. In May 1853, at Vergennes, Michigan, an incident happened that greatly increased confidence in Ellen White’s visions. The matter concerned Mrs. Alcott, a woman who had professed great holiness and now was ingratiating herself among the new believers. Mrs. White had a vision earlier in Tyrone, Michigan, regarding this woman’s real spiritual state and wrote out some of the details. Two ministers, M. E. Cornell and J. N. Loughborough, knew of the written details and said, “Now we will watch, and see how the case comes out.”


Finally arriving at Vergennes, with Loughborough and Cornell present, Mrs. White said to her husband in front of the house where they were to stay, that they must find the church where “that woman lives whom I saw in the Tyrone vision.” She also noted that the couple who were entertaining them knew this woman. The wife had no confidence in Mrs. Alcott but her husband “thinks she is all right.” (No conversation had yet taken place between this couple and the Whites.)


Soon a carriage drove up and Ellen White said that none in that load had any confidence in “that woman’s pretensions.” When the next carriage drove up, she said that load was divided. The third load were “all under the woman’s influence.” Then she said: “This must be the church where that woman lives; for I have seen all these persons in connection with that affair.”


On Sabbath, while James White was preaching, an old man, a young man, and a woman came in, the woman remaining near the door. When James finished his sermon, Ellen White rose to say a few words about the care ministers must take in their work. She said that God did not call a woman to travel with any man other than her husband. To make her point, she referred to “that woman who just sat down near the door…. God has showed me that she and this young man have violated the seventh commandment.” Loughborough commented: “All in that barn knew that Sister White had never personally seen these individuals until they came into that barn. Her picking out of the persons and her delineation of the case had weight in favor of her vision.”


What was Mrs. Alcott’s response? Loughborough wrote: “She slowly arose to her feet, put on a sanctimonious look, and said, ‘God—knows—my—heart.’ That was all she said, and sat down. Here was just what the Lord showed (May 28) that the woman would say. On June 11 she did just as it was said she would do, and said the identical words predicted she would say when reproved, and no more.”


What about the young man? A few weeks later, before he returned to Canada, he was asked regarding Ellen White’s vision, and he replied, “That vision was too true.”


Another experience, perhaps even more dramatic, and even more of a misfortune if Ellen White’s visions were not accurate, happened at the Wisconsin camp meeting in the early 1870s. The speaker had already begun when the Whites arrived. Ellen and James paused as she said something to James, not heard by those who watched. But those closest heard James say, “All right!” Down the center aisle they went but Ellen White did not sit down. She looked up at the preacher, pointed her finger at him and said, “Brother, I have heard your voice in vision, and when I entered this tent this morning, I recognized that voice, and the Lord told me when I heard that voice, to look straight up and deliver the message that He gave me for you and I will have to do it.”


The preacher stopped. Ellen White continued: “Brother, I know a woman in Pennsylvania with two little children. That woman calls you husband and those children call you father and they are hunting everywhere for you and they can’t find you. They don’t know where you are. Right over there is another woman with six children hanging to her skirts and she calls you husband and they call you father. Brother, you have no business in that desk.”


The preacher made one lunge for the tent flap and vanished. His brother, who was sitting in the audience, sprang to his feet, telling the stunned audience, “Brethren, the worst of it is, it is all true.” Many were the life experiences of most every kind that Ellen White addressed, always counseling, reproving, encouraging, whatever the need. In every instance, recipients and observers alike noted that no one could possibly have known the facts of the situation unless the Spirit of God had prompted His human messenger. MOL 139.9 – MOL 141.1


Dangers of Centralization and Hierarchical Structures

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has learned through experience the perversion of unity when overcentralization, without appropriate checks and balances, produces “kingly power” and the ominous potential of error overwhelming the church body. The early Adventists, fearful of “Babylonian” power in church organization, kept their institutions legally separate from each other and from the General Conference. For example, in the late 1890s the Health Institute founded in the mid-1860s had grown into a chain of twenty-seven sanitariums—all administered by the International Medical Missionary and Benevolent Association, an entity independent from the General Conference. At the beginning of the twentieth century, other more integral departments of the church, such as the International Sabbath School Association, the International Religious Liberty Association, and the International Tract and Missionary Society, also were administered by boards distinct from the General Conference.


Was this decentralization good or bad? Not good, when the various departments of the church were spending unnecessary funds to operate their programs, often in competition with one another. Yet, there was something positive in that each organization was pursuing its goals without another level of decision-makers above them that would possibly slow progress and thwart the plans that were devised by people closer to the problem or challenge.


But all of the major associations and departments had their own problem of overcentralization. Most were headquartered at Battle Creek, some later in Philadelphia and New York. Decisions were made at these head offices with very little freedom by local conferences or churches to meet their immediate needs. The problem with the Adventist Church in the 1890s and early 1900s can be understood in terms of rapid growth and of long-time leaders who were not used to a multiplicity of challenges, not only in numbers but in variety. The charges of “kingly power” and sluggish decision-making were all too accurate.


Throughout this period Ellen White sounded the alarm regarding the problems caused by the consolidation of top decision-makers in Battle Creek. She had reason to be even more alarmed when the publishing leaders planned to merge the Pacific Press Publishing Association with the Review and Herald Publishing Association, as well as all other publishing houses of the future.


Her clear voice against consolidation of publishing houses, medical institutions, and educational institutions rested on the principle, enunciated in 1896, that consolidation “shows that men are seeking to grasp the scepter of power, and hold control over human minds.” In the consolidation of the church’s work in one place and in the hands of a few men, she wrote, “Mistakes have been made in this line. Individuality and personal responsibility are thus repressed and weakened.” Further, she foresaw the danger in terms of bad policy that would diffuse everywhere under consolidated management: “When so great power is placed in the hands of a few persons, Satan will make determined efforts to pervert the judgment, to insinuate wrong principles of action, to bring in a wrong policy; in so doing he cannot only pervert one institution, but through this can gain control of others and give a wrong mold to the work in distant parts.” MOL 187.5 – MOL 188.1


Lessons and Experiences of Faith

  • Moving by faith, example and not by sight, how our medical institutions and sanitariums were began and how the work will be finished. Laodiceans, , still hold your peace and comfort. Many would be found in debt for borrowing to build mansions and securing their businesses. May the Lord find us in debt accrued trying to win as many souls as possible through establishing agencies he has bid us to.


God’s purpose in giving the third angel’s message to the world is to prepare a people to stand true to Him during the investigative judgment. This is the purpose for which we establish and maintain our publishing houses, our schools, our sanitariums, hygienic restaurants, treatment rooms, and food factories. This is our purpose in carrying forward every line of work in the cause.—Manuscript 154, 1902, 4. (“Instruction to Men in Positions of Responsibility,” October 24, 1902.)


The prospect of establishing a medical institution in the mid-1860s seemed daunting, perhaps impossible, from a human point of view. But J. N. Loughborough, president of the Michigan Conference, gathered together his committee leaders and said: “We will pledge to the enterprise, venturing out on what is said in the testimony, though it looks to us like a heavy load for us to hold up.”


Four months later, Uriah Smith, editor of the Review and Herald, wrote about this struggling infant: “We have only to look back … four short months. Now we behold an elegant site secured, buildings ready for operation … and operations actually commenced. In no enterprise ever undertaken by this people has the hand of the Lord been more evidently manifested than in this thing.”


Other medical institutions owe their existence to Ellen White’s visionary insight, courage, and personal sacrifice. In 1902 she wrote to the General Conference president: “Constantly the Lord is keeping southern California before me as a place where we must establish medical institutions…. Sanitariums must be established in this section of the State.” A few days later she said: “For months the Lord has given me instruction that He is preparing the way for our people to obtain possession, at little cost, of properties on which there are buildings that can be utilized in our work.”


Paradise Valley Sanitarium. Ellen White borrowed $2,000 from a bank (in 1904) and encouraged Mrs. Josephine Gotzian to donate $2,000 so that the Paradise Valley Sanitarium property could be bought—in spite of understandable reluctance on the part of conference leadership—on property that had cost the original owners $25,000.


Glendale Sanitarium. As soon as Paradise Valley Sanitarium had been secured, Mrs. White urged leadership to find property for a sanitarium “near Los Angeles.” Under her prodding a search was made in the Los Angeles suburbs. In Glendale a desirable property worth $60,000 was bought for $12,500.


Loma Linda Sanitarium. The church leadership thought that surely they had fulfilled their responsibilities as they struggled to develop the Paradise Valleyand Glendale sanitariums. But Ellen White was not finished. She had been instructed that the Redlands-Riverside area was pointed out as a place where the next sanitarium should be located—and soon. She told the conference leadership that they “could find it if they wanted to.”


When the description of the Loma Linda resort hotel was presented to her while she was attending the 1905 General Conference session in Washington, D. C., she replied that the place answered in every particular to the instruction seen in vision. Great was the tension regarding the necessary finances; the local conference was heavily in debt, chiefly because of the recent acquisitions urged by Ellen White! But time was of the essence. Mrs. White sent a telegram to faithful John Burden: “Secure the property!” The events of the next few months in finding the necessary funds to complete the sale and the rapid development of the medical educational center at Loma Linda provide reason for amazement and gratitude. The final purchase price was $38,900 on an initial investment of more than $150,000 by the original owners. Except for divine guidance through His messenger from Elmshaven, Loma Linda University would not exist today.


Avondale College. The establishment of Avondale College by fewer than 1,000 believers in the 1890s, during one of Australia’s worst economic depressions, is one more awesome example of the success that comes by following the counsel of God’s messenger. Less than four months after Ellen White arrived in Australia, and with her urging, church leadership voted in December 1891 “that it is our duty to take immediate steps toward the establishment of a school in Australia.”


In 1893 the search committee located a 1,450-acre site seventy-five miles north of Sydney, near Cooranbong. Though the land was very cheap, church leadership felt that it would not support a farm, a conviction endorsed by the state agricultural service. Ellen White remained unmoved while others vacillated. To show her faith in the Lord’s guidance, she borrowed $5,000 so that building materials could be bought. MOL 189.4 – MOL 190.4





Were these presentations by Waggoner and Jones new light for Ellen White? Generally, no, as one can discover by reading her messages prior to 1888. She stated on several occasions that these great truths had been “imprinted indelibly on my mind by the Spirit God” and that they had been “presented in the testimonies again and again.”


But she saw certain aspects of the “precious message” as fresh, timely, and part of the increasing light she called “present truth”: “The peculiar work of the third angel has not been seen in its importance. God meant that His people should be far in advance of the position which they occupy today…. It is not in the order of God that light has been kept from our people—the very present truth which they needed for this time. Not all our ministers who are giving the third angel’s message, really understand what constitutes that message.”


  • During this difficult period it could have been argued that if Mrs. White had been more specific regarding, for example, the precise meaning of Galatians 3, the conflict would have been resolved quickly. In fact, she searched in vain for more than a year for materials that she had written on the subject. She even raised the question in a sermon at the 1888 Session: “Why was it that I lost the manuscript and for two years could not find it? God has a purpose in this. He wants us to go to the Bible and get the Scripture evidence.”


Here again, the 1888 delegates saw the principle prevail, as it had from the very beginning of Ellen White’s ministry: first, Bible study, then confirmation through divine revelation. At Minneapolis she urged careful Bible study to be done in a courteous spirit, calling for “both sides of the question, for all we wanted was the truth, Bible truth, to be brought before the people.” Further, she said: “I cannot take my position on either side until I have studied the question the law in Galatians.” MOL 197.2 – MOL 197.5


  • The 1888 “revelation of the righteousness of Christ” was only “the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth” (Revelation 18:1).


Clarifying and restating the principles of the “precious message” that was the beginning of the “loud cry” (Revelation 14:18) will become “the one subject that will swallow up” all others.


This profound endowment to the Adventist Church is on record today in the many documents of that period. It can be strongly argued that, without Ellen White’s prophetic leadership at that time, the Seventh-day Adventist Church would have been mortally wounded. Without her insistence that only a full understanding of what she and others were emphasizing in 1888 and the years soon following, the church today would not know what it means to fulfill its role in proclaiming the “everlasting gospel.”


The urgency of the messages of this period, 1888-1896, persists today. To be truly informed, a person must re-read the actual messages, not through the eyes of another but directly as if the present reader were an eyewitness hearing Jones, Waggoner, and Ellen White for the first time. MOL 198


The Holy Flesh Movement then and now – The Nature of Christ

An interesting trail runs from the continuing discussions on righteousness by faith following the 1888 Minneapolis Conference to the “cleansing message” proclaimed in the Indiana Conference at the turn of the century. By 1900 the entire Indiana Conference executive committee and almost all of its ministers were enthusiastically proclaiming that, in order to be translated, church members must go through the “garden experience,” receive the “holy flesh” that Jesus had, and thus be prepared for translation. After this experience, the church members could no longer be tempted “from within” and would not see death; they would be translated!


How was this to happen? They believed that the Holy Spirit, when He comes in His fullness, will cleanse church members (in the “garden experience”) from all sin. A cleansed church would then be prepared to warn the world of Christ’s return, with the “loud-cry power” of Revelation 18:4.


At the Indiana camp meeting in 1900, Stephen Haskell did his best to reverse this conference-wide heresy. In his report to Ellen White who was still in Australia, he wrote: “When we stated that we believed that Christ was born in fallen humanity, they would represent us as believing that Christ sinned, notwithstanding the fact that we would state our position so clearly that it would seem as though no one could misunderstand us.


“Their point of theology in this particular respect seems to be this: They believe that Christ took Adam’s nature before he fell; so He took humanity as it was in the garden of Eden, and thus humanity was holy, and this is the humanity which Christ had; and now, they say, the particular time has come for us to become holy in that sense, and then we will have ‘translation faith’ and never die.” MOL 198.8 – MOL 199.5


Further false doctrines that Haskell and others exposed included:


  1. The impartation of the Holy Spirit was primarily for physical manifestations and miracles rather than character preparation for service;


  1. Perfectionism (understood as “holy flesh”) in the sense of not being able to sin because no temptation now arises from within;


  1. Jesus was born with “sinless flesh;”


  1. The Holy Spirit insulated Jesus at conception from the law of heredity;


  1. Sealed people will not die; and


  1. Sealed people are healed physically as well as spiritually.


Of these doctrines Ellen White declared at the Indiana Conference constituency meeting, in Indianapolis, May 5, 1901, “there is not a thread of truth in the whole fabric.


At the 1901 General Conference session in Battle Creek she met openly the holy flesh heresy and its conference leaders. In her prepared manuscript she said, in part: “The teaching given in regard to what is termed ‘holy flesh’ is an error. All may now obtain holy hearts, but it is not correct to claim in this life to have holy flesh…. Not a soul of you has holy flesh now…. It is an impossibility. If those who speak so freely of perfection in the flesh could see things in the true light, they would recoil with horror from their presumptuous ideas…. Let this phase of doctrine be carried a little further, and it will lead to the claim that its advocates cannot sin, that since they have holy flesh, their actions are all holy. What a door of temptation would thus be opened! …


  • “The manner in which the meetings in Indiana have been carried on, with noise and confusion, does not commend them to thoughtful, intelligent minds. There is nothing in these demonstrations which will convince the world that we have the truth. Mere noise and shouting are no evidence of sanctification, or of the descent of the Holy Spirit…. Fanaticism, once started and left unchecked, is as hard to quench as a fire which has obtained hold of a building…. We need to contemplate Christ and become assimilated to His image through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. This is our only safeguard against being entangled in Satan’s delusive snares.”


After reading her prepared statement for an hour, Ellen White spoke impromptu, recalling lessons learned from similar fanaticism with which she and fellow pioneers contended in the 1840s and 1850s.


  • The result? The next day the Indiana Conference president made a candid confession, saying, in part: “When I found this people, I was more than glad to know that there was a prophet among them, and from the first I have been a firm believer in, and a warm advocate of, the Testimonies and the Spirit of Prophecy. It has been suggested to me at times in the past, that the test on this point of faith comes when the testimony comes directly to us. As nearly all of you know, in the testimony of yesterday morning, the test came to me. But, brethren, I can thank God this morning that my faith in the Spirit of Prophecy remains unshaken. God has spoken. He says I was wrong, and I answer, God is right, and I am wrong.”


Other Indiana Conference officials also made open and full confession of their errors—all pointing to God’s messenger as the reason for their enlightenment. A few weeks later, the Indiana Conference constituency voted a new conference committee and a change of key pastorates. With these confessions, the Holy Flesh Movement was broken. MOL 199.6 – MOL 200.2


The History of Pantheism

An attack of the Personality of God, Sanctuary and Atonement and the printing of 8T and MH to counter the heresy. The defenders of the Truth about God, Sanctuary and Atonement need to read these two books and assimilate and practice them before stepping on the pulpit.


Pantheism” is derived from two Greek words— pan, “all,” and theos, “God.” In pantheism, everything manifests the presence of God; nature and God are identical. By misunderstanding the role of the Holy Spirit the Christian church for two thousand years has lapsed into various heresies that border on pantheism; some have been direct incursions into pantheistic territory. That same misunderstanding created a crisis in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the early 1900s.


In the 1840s and 1850s ex-Millerite “spiritualizers” not only emphasized that Jesus had indeed “come” in 1844 to the “believers,” they were also “highly introverted” in their ecstatic worship practices. In addition, many groups were allied with the growing influence of modern spiritualism, first with the Shakers and then with the Fox-sisters movement in Hydesville, New York. But underneath the “spiritualizer” movement was the reduction of Jesus to that of a “spirit” rather than a material Person.


When pantheistic ideas developed half a century later among Seventh-day Adventists, Ellen White recognized the similarities with the “spiritualizers” that she had firmly confronted in the 1840s and early 1850s.


Before the death of James White in 1881 J. H. Kellogg shared with the Whites some theories of “new light” in understanding God. Ellen White responded forthrightly that she had “met them before” and that he should “never teach such theories in our institutions.”


But by 1897 Kellogg was introducing his pantheistic concepts at a ministerial institute preceding the General Conference session. His presentations were recorded in the 1897 General Conference Bulletin. Expressions such as the following were enthusiastically received by those who were not able to see where such thoughts would lead: “What a wonderful thought, that this mighty God that keeps the whole universe in order, is in us! … What an amazing thing that this almighty, all-powerful, and all-wise God should make Himself a servant of man by giving man a free will—power to direct the energy within his body!”


In the late 1890s E. J. Waggoner also developed similar concepts. Because of his reputation as a Bible student and previous support from Ellen White for his salvation-by-faith teachings in 1888-1892, Waggoner’s linkage with Dr. Kellogg brought plausibility to the teachings of both men. At the General Conference of 1899 he taught that men and women should be able to overcome their diseases and live forever, that every breath taken is “a direct breathing of God” in the nostrils, and that God is in pure water and good food, because “God is in everything.” MOL 200.3 – MOL 200.8


When A. G. Daniells returned from Australia to assume leadership of the General Conference, he was astounded to hear expressions such as “a tree maker in the tree,” and God in flowers, trees, and all mankind. W. A. Spicer, newly appointed secretary of the Foreign Mission Board, had just spent several years as a missionary in India where pantheism permeated Hinduism. He quickly recognized the popularized American concepts for what they were.


On February 18, 1902, the world-renowned Battle Creek Sanitarium burned to the ground. Within hours Dr. Kellogg was laying plans to rebuild. Within days he was asking the General Conference for financial assistance. (The denomination at that time was heavily in debt—much of the debt due to expansive medical facilities.) Daniells, remembering that funds were being raised to reduce the debts on educational facilities by selling Ellen White’s book, Christ’s Object Lessons, suggested that Dr. Kellogg write a laymen’s book on physiology and health care as promoted in the Battle Creek Sanitarium. He thought that 500,000 copies could be sold by Adventists to their friends, and all the proceeds would go to help reconstruct the sanitarium. MOL 201.4 – MOL 201.5


But in the discussion over the proposed book, Daniells made it plain to Kellogg that none of his “new theory” must be in the book because, if it were, many church members would not cooperate in the venture. The doctor quickly agreed and immediately began to dictate the manuscript for The Living Temple.


However, as soon as the galley proofs were read by W. W. Prescott and W. A. Spicer, controversy over its contents began. Kellogg saw that the General Conference Committee intended to withdraw support for publication of the book, so he withdrew it from further consideration as a church venture. Nevertheless, he placed a personal order for 5,000 copies with the Review and Herald Publishing Association. About a month later, December 30, 1902, fire destroyed the publishing house with the plates for the book then ready for the press. MOL 201.6 – MOL 201.7


During that period, Ellen White wrote to Dr. Kellogg: “You are not definitely clear on the personality of God, which is everything to us as a people. You have virtually destroyed the Lord God Himself.” A few days later she continued: “Your ideas are so mystical that they are destructive to the real substance, and the minds of some are becoming confused in regard to the foundation of our faith. If you allow your mind to become thus diverted, you will give a wrong mold to the work that has made us what we are.” MOL 201.9 – MOL 202.1


Ellen White wrote personally to E. J. Waggoner, one of the foremost supporters of The Living Temple , urging him to change his ways: “I have seen the results of these fanciful views of God, in apostasy, spiritualism, free loveism. The free love tendencies of these teachings were so concealed that it was difficult to present them in their real character. Until the Lord presented it to me, I knew not what to call it, but I was instructed to call it unholy spiritual love.” MOL 203.2


According to E. K. VandeVere, long-time head of the history department at Emmanuel Missionary College (E.M.C.), the polarities at the 1904 session included:


  • Centralization vs decentralization of authority


  • Orthodoxy vs the new theology (pantheism, etc.)


  • Organization vs independence


  • Paid ministry vs a self-supporting ministry


  • Validity of Ellen White’s “testimonies” vs her being questioned and/or ignored


  • Medical work as “arm” vs medical work as “body”


  • Emmanuel Missionary College’s success vs the reopening of Battle Creek College


  • Battle Creek regarded as “punished” vs Battle Creek’s fires as accidental


  • Move to Washington vs the value of Battle Creek label


  • Educational orthodoxy vs experimental education


  • Board control of E.M.C. vs E.M.C. administrators being led by the Spirit. MOL 203.4


Tensions continued building. To provide as much help as possible to those who still wavered, Mrs. White rushed the printing of Testimonies , volume 8, with its section entitled, “The Essential Knowledge.” Further, she was fast developing her next health book especially for the general public, The Ministry of Healing. In this book she incorporated the same principles regarding the personality of God and His involvement in the healing of disease, especially in the section also entitled, “The Essential Knowledge.” MOL 203.9 – MOL 204.1





How should the Ministry be sustained and who Qualifies?

  • A pressing question during the 1850s was how to support the ministry. Ministers with families had a most difficult challenge when they had to rely on the liberality of believers, especially when few church groups were organized. Many could preach only on a part-time basis. The Whites sold Bibles and other books to supplement the little income they received from friends. Furthermore, the barter system often prevailed, for money was scarce, especially in a largely agrarian society.


In late 1858 Ellen White told her husband that the Lord had shown her that J. N. Andrews should come to Battle Creek, hold a Bible class, and in the study they would develop a Biblical plan for sustaining the ministry. In that Bible class held in January 1859, the leaders agreed that the tithing system is still binding, and they suggested calling the program, “Systematic Benevolence on the tithing principle.” On January 29 the Battle Creek congregation voted unanimously to adopt the program and publish the plan in the Review and Herald. The example of the Battle Creek church set the pace for other churches to follow.


By June Mrs. White was writing that “the plan of systematic benevolence is pleasing to God.” In the early days of implementation, the “plan” did not separate tithes from offerings and all was devoted to supporting the ministry. In January 1861 Mrs. White wrote a candid message that more clearly defined the tithing principle, applying Malachi 3:8-11 to present-day obligations to the Lord. She delineated how the tithing principle was fair to all, the poor as well as to the wealthy, and that “in the arrangement of systematic benevolence, hearts will be tested and proved…. Here is a test for the naturally selfish and covetous.”


Ellen White said often that the “tithe is sacred, reserved by God for Himself. It is to be brought into His treasury to be used to sustain the gospel laborers in their work.” Gospel laborers are defined as ministers and Bible instructors, Bible teachers in our educational institutions, minister-physicians, retired gospel workers, and workers in needy mission fields in North America and abroad. God has blessed the tithing system. MOL 220.2 – MOL 220.5


The Laborer is worth his pay but are full-time Missionaries exempted from Manual Labor to sustain their families and fellow-laborers?

We are living in the last days and the fast-fulling prophecies show that Christ second coming is near. If there was a time for having an upper room experience and putting our efforts and means together as the disciples did during the time of early rain is now. The purpose of this document is to spur us to another height of benevolence and to know our duties as ministers and congregants. Not only do we have to be laborers expecting help or working for the motive of rewards but we should be spending and expending ourselves for the purpose of reaching to a people living where light has not shone hence:


Our money has not been given us that we might honor and glorify ourselves. As faithful stewards we are to use it for the honor and glory of God. Some think that only a portion of their means is the Lord’s. When they have set apart a portion for religious and charitable purposes, they regard the remainder as their own, to be used as they see fit. But in this they mistake. All we possess is the Lord’s, and we are accountable to Him for the use we make of it. In the use of every penny, it will be seen whether we love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves. Money has great value, because it can do great good. In the hands of God’s children it is food for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, and clothing for the naked. . . . But money is of no more value than sand, only as it is put to use in providing for the necessities of life, in blessing others, and advancing the cause of Christ.  {FLB 160.6}


A Liberal Church

In his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul gave the believers instruction regarding the general principles underlying the support of God’s work in the earth. Writing of his apostolic labors in their behalf, he inquired:  {AA 335.1}


Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? or saith He it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.  {AA 335.2} 


“If we have sown unto you spiritual things,” the apostle further inquired, “is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 9:7-14.  {AA 335.3} 


The apostle here referred to the Lord’s plan for the maintenance of the priests who ministered in the temple. Those who were set apart to this holy office were supported by their brethren, to whom they ministered spiritual blessings. “Verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law.” Hebrews 7:5. The tribe of Levi was chosen by the Lord for the sacred offices pertaining to the temple and the priesthood. Of the priest it was said, “The Lord thy God hath chosen him . . . to stand to minister in the name of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 18:5.) One tenth of all the increase was claimed by the Lord as His own, and to withhold the tithe was regarded by Him as robbery.  {AA 336.1}


It was to this plan for the support of the ministry that Paul referred when he said, “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” And later, in writing to Timothy, the apostle said, “The laborer is worthy of his reward.” 1 Timothy 5:18.  {AA 336.2} 


The payment of the tithe was but a part of God’s plan for the support of His service. Numerous gifts and offerings were divinely specified. Under the Jewish system the people were taught to cherish a spirit of liberality both in sustaining the cause of God and in supplying the wants of the needy. For special occasions there were freewill offerings. At the harvest and the vintage, the first fruits of the field–corn, wine, and oil–were consecrated as an offering to the Lord. The gleanings and the corners of the field were reserved for the poor. The first fruits of the wool when the sheep were shorn, of the grain when the wheat was threshed, were set apart for God. So also were the first-born of all animals, and a redemption price was paid for the first-born son. The first fruits were to be presented before the Lord at the sanctuary and were then devoted to the use of the priests.  {AA 336.3}


By this system of benevolence the Lord sought to teach Israel that in everything He must be first. Thus they were reminded that God was the proprietor of their fields, their flocks, and their herds; that it was He who sent them the sunshine and the rain that developed and ripened the harvest. Everything that they possessed was His; they were but the stewards of His goods.  {AA 337.1}


It is not God’s purpose that Christians, whose privileges far exceed those of the Jewish nation, shall give less freely than they gave. “Unto whomsoever much is given,” the Saviour declared, “of him shall be much required.” Luke 12:48. The liberality required of the Hebrews was largely to benefit their own nation; today the work of God extends over all the earth. In the hands of His followers, Christ has placed the treasures of the gospel, and upon them He has laid the responsibility of giving the glad tidings of salvation to the world. Surely our obligations are much greater than were those of ancient Israel.  {AA 337.2}


As God’s work extends, calls for help will come more and more frequently. That these calls may be answered, Christians should heed the command, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house.” Malachi 3:10. If professing Christians would faithfully bring to God their tithes and offerings, His treasury would be full. There would then be no occasion to resort to fairs, lotteries, or parties of pleasure to secure funds for the support of the gospel.  {AA 338.1}


Men are tempted to use their means in self-indulgence, in the gratification of appetite, in personal adornment, or in the embellishment of their homes. For these objects many church members do not hesitate to spend freely and even extravagantly. But when asked to give to the Lord’s treasury, to carry forward His work in the earth, they demur. Perhaps, feeling that they cannot well do otherwise, they dole out a sum far smaller than they often spend for needless indulgence. They manifest no real love for Christ’s service, no earnest interest in the salvation of souls. What marvel that the Christian life of such ones is but a dwarfed, sickly existence!  {AA 338.2}


He whose heart is aglow with the love of Christ will regard it as not only a duty, but a pleasure, to aid in the advancement of the highest, holiest work committed to man–the work of presenting to the world the riches of goodness, mercy, and truth.  {AA 338.3}


It is the spirit of covetousness which leads men to keep for gratification of self means that rightfully belong to God, and this spirit is as abhorrent to Him now as when through His prophet He sternly rebuked His people, saying, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation.” Malachi 3:8, 9.  {AA 339.1}


The spirit of liberality is the spirit of heaven. This spirit finds its highest manifestation in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. In our behalf the Father gave His only-begotten Son; and Christ, having given up all that He had, then gave Himself, that man might be saved. The cross of Calvary should appeal to the benevolence of every follower of the Saviour. The principle there illustrated is to give, give. “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” 1 John 2:6.  {AA 339.2}


On the other hand, the spirit of selfishness is the spirit of Satan. The principle illustrated in the lives of worldlings is to get, get. Thus they hope to secure happiness and ease, but the fruit of their sowing is misery and death.  {AA 339.3}


Not until God ceases to bless His children will they cease to be under bonds to return to Him the portion that He claims. Not only should they render the Lord the portion that belongs to Him, but they should bring also to His treasury, as a gratitude offering, a liberal tribute. With joyful hearts they should dedicate to the Creator the first fruits of their bounties–their choicest possessions, their best and holiest service. Thus they will gain rich blessings. God Himself will make their souls like a watered garden whose waters fail not. And when the last great harvest is gathered in, the sheaves that they are enabled to bring to the Master will be the recompense of their unselfish use of the talents lent them.  {AA 339.4}


God’s chosen messengers, who are engaged in aggressive labor, should never be compelled to go a warfare at their own charges, unaided by the sympathetic and hearty support of their brethren. It is the part of church members to deal liberally with those who lay aside their secular employment that they may give themselves to the ministry. When God’s ministers are encouraged, His cause is greatly advanced. But when, through the selfishness of men, their rightful support is withheld, their hands are weakened, and often their usefulness is seriously crippled.  {AA 340.1}


The displeasure of God is kindled against those who claim to be His followers, yet allow consecrated workers to suffer for the necessities of life while engaged in active ministry. These selfish ones will be called to render an account, not only for the misuse of their Lord’s money, but for the depression and heartache which their course has brought upon His faithful servants. Those who are called to the work of the ministry, and at the call of duty give up all to engage in God’s service, should receive for their self-sacrificing efforts wages sufficient to support themselves and their families.  {AA 340.2} 


In the various departments of secular labor, mental and physical, faithful workmen can earn good wages. Is not the work of disseminating truth, and leading souls to Christ, of more importance than any ordinary business? And are not those who faithfully engage in this work justly entitled to ample remuneration? By our estimate of the relative value of labor for moral and for physical good, we show our appreciation of the heavenly in contrast with the earthly.  {AA 341.1}


That there may be funds in the treasury for the support of the ministry, and to meet the calls for assistance in missionary enterprises, it is necessary that the people of God give cheerfully and liberally. A solemn responsibility rests upon ministers to keep before the churches the needs of the cause of God and to educate them to be liberal. When this is neglected, and the churches fail to give for the necessities of others, not only does the work of the Lord suffer, but the blessing that should come to believers is withheld.  {AA 341.2}


Even the very poor should bring their offerings to God. They are to be sharers of the grace of Christ by denying self to help those whose need is more pressing than their own. The poor man’s gift, the fruit of self-denial, comes up before God as fragrant incense. And every act of self-sacrifice strengthens the spirit of beneficence in the giver’s heart, allying him more closely to the One who was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich.  {AA 341.3} 


The act of the widow who cast two mites–all that she had–into the treasury, is placed on record for the encouragement of those who, struggling with poverty, still desire by their gifts to aid the cause of God. Christ called the attention of the disciples to this woman, who had given “all her living.” Mark 12:44. He esteemed her gift of more value than the large offerings of those whose alms did not call for self-denial. From their abundance they had given a small portion. To make her offering, the widow had deprived herself of even the necessities of life, trusting God to supply her needs for the morrow. Of her the Saviour declared, “Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury.” Verse 43. Thus He taught that the value of the gift is estimated not by the amount, but by the proportion that is given and the motive that actuates the giver.  {AA 342.1}


The apostle Paul in his ministry among the churches was untiring in his efforts to inspire in the hearts of the new converts a desire to do large things for the cause of God. Often he exhorted them to the exercise of liberality. In speaking to the elders of Ephesus of his former labors among them, he said, “I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” “He which soweth sparingly,” he wrote to the Corinthians, “shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” Acts 20:35; 2 Corinthians 9:6, 7.  {AA 342.2}


Nearly all the Macedonian believers were poor in this world’s goods, but their hearts were overflowing with love for God and His truth, and they gladly gave for the support of the gospel. When general collections were taken up in the Gentile churches for the relief of the Jewish believers, the liberality of the converts in Macedonia was held up as an example to other churches. Writing to the Corinthian believers, the apostle called their attention to “the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; how that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, . . . yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.” 2 Corinthians 8:1-4.  {AA 343.1}


The willingness to sacrifice on the part of the Macedonian believers came as a result of wholehearted consecration. Moved by the Spirit of God, they “first gave their own selves to the Lord” (2 Corinthians 8:5), then they were willing to give freely of their means for the support of the gospel. It was not necessary to urge them to give; rather, they rejoiced in the privilege of denying themselves even of necessary things in order to supply the needs of others. When the apostle would have restrained them, they importuned him to accept their offering. In their simplicity and integrity, and in their love for the brethren, they gladly denied self, and thus abounded in the fruit of benevolence.  {AA 343.2}


When Paul sent Titus to Corinth to strengthen the believers there, he instructed him to build up that church in the grace of giving, and in a personal letter to the believers he also added his own appeal. “As ye abound in everything,” he pleaded, “in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also,” “Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: . . . being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.” 2 Corinthians 8:7, 11, 12; 9:8-11.  {AA 344.1}


Unselfish liberality threw the early church into a transport of joy; for the believers knew that their efforts were helping to send the gospel message to those in darkness. Their benevolence testified that they had not received the grace of God in vain. What could produce such liberality but the sanctification of the Spirit? In the eyes of believers and unbelievers it was a miracle of grace.  {AA 344.2} 


Spiritual prosperity is closely bound up with Christian liberality. The followers of Christ should rejoice in the privilege of revealing in their lives the beneficence of their Redeemer. As they give to the Lord they have the assurance that their treasure is going before them to the heavenly courts. Would men make their property secure? Let them place it in the hands that bear the marks of the crucifixion. Would they enjoy their substance? Let them use it to bless the needy and suffering. Would they increase their possessions? Let them heed the divine injunction, “Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” Proverbs 3:9, 10. Let them seek to retain their possessions for selfish purposes, and it will be to their eternal loss. But let their treasure be given to God, and from that moment it bears His inscription. It is sealed with His immutability.  {AA 344.3}


God declares, “Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters.” Isaiah 32:20. A continual imparting of God’s gifts wherever the cause of God or the needs of humanity demand our aid, does not tend to poverty. “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.” Proverbs 11:24. The sower multiplies his seed by casting it away. So it is with those who are faithful in distributing God’s gifts. By imparting they increase their blessings. “Give, and it shall be given unto you,” God has promised; “good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.” Luke 6:38.  {AA 345.1}


Love is the basis of godliness. Whatever the profession, no man has pure love to God unless he has unselfish love for his brother. But we can never come into possession of this spirit by trying to love others. What is needed is the love of Christ in the heart. When self is merged in Christ, love springs forth spontaneously. The completeness of Christian character is attained when the impulse to help and bless others springs constantly from within–when the sunshine of heaven fills the heart and is revealed in the countenance.  {COL 384.2}


Ministers have stood directly in the way of the work of God in Ohio. They should stand out of the way, that God may reach His people. They step in between God and His people, and turn aside His purposes. Brother J has exerted an influence in Ohio which he must labor to counteract. I saw that there were those in Ohio who would take the right position with right instructions. They have been willing to sustain the cause of present truth, but have seen so little accomplished that they have become discouraged. Their hands are feeble, and need staying up. I saw that the cause of God is not to be carried forward by pressed offerings. God does not accept such offerings. This matter is to be left wholly to the people. They are not to bring a yearly gift merely, but should also freely present a weekly and monthly offering before the Lord. This work is left to the people, for it is to be to them a weekly, monthly, living test. This tithing system, I saw, would develop character, and manifest the true state of the heart. If the brethren in Ohio have this matter presented before them in its true bearing, and are left to decide for themselves, they will see wisdom and order in the tithing system.  Ministers should not be severe, and draw upon any one man, and press means from him. If he does not give just as much as another thinks he should, they are not to denounce him, and throw him overboard. They should be as patient and forbearing as the angels are. They should work in union with Jesus. Christ and angels are watching the development of character, and weighing moral worth. The Lord bears long with His erring people. The truth will be brought to bear closer and closer, and will cut off one idol after another, until God reigns supreme in the hearts of His consecrated people. I saw that God’s people must bring to Him a freewill offering; and the responsibility should be left wholly upon the individual, whether he will give much or little.  It will be faithfully recorded. Give the people of God time to develop character.  {1T 237.2}


Those who would gain the blessing of sanctification must first learn the meaning of self-sacrifice. The cross of Christ is the central pillar on which hangs the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” “If any man will come after Me,” Christ says, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” 2 Corinthians 4:17; Matthew 16:24. It is the fragrance of our love for our fellow men that reveals our love for God. It is patience in service that brings rest to the soul. It is through humble, diligent, faithful toil that the welfare of Israel is promoted. God upholds and strengthens the one who is willing to follow in Christ’s way.  {AA 560.2} 


In the days of Israel the tithe and freewill offerings were needed to maintain the ordinances of divine service. Should the people of God give less in this age? The principle laid down by Christ is that our offerings to God should be in proportion to the light and privileges enjoyed. “Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.” Luke 12:48. Said the Saviour to His disciples as He sent them forth, “Freely ye have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8. As our blessings and privileges are increased–above all, as we have before us the unparalleled sacrifice of the glorious Son of God–should not our gratitude find expression in more abundant gifts to extend to others the message of salvation? The work of the gospel, as it widens, requires greater provision to sustain it than was called for anciently; and this makes the law of tithes and offerings of even more urgent necessity now than under the Hebrew economy. If His people were liberally to sustain His cause by their voluntary gifts, instead of resorting to unchristian and unhallowed methods to fill the treasury, God would be honored, and many more souls would be won to Christ.  {PP 528.4} 


The plan of Moses to raise means for the building of the tabernacle was highly successful. No urging was necessary. Nor did he employ any of the devices to which churches in our day so often resort. He made no grand feast. He did not invite the people to scenes of gaiety, dancing, and general amusement; neither did he institute lotteries, nor anything of this profane order, to obtain means to erect the tabernacle for God. The Lord directed Moses to invite the children of Israel to bring their offerings. He was to accept gifts from everyone that gave willingly, from his heart. And the offerings came in so great abundance that Moses bade the people cease bringing, for they had supplied more than could be used.  {PP 529.1} 


God has made men His stewards. The property which He has placed in their hands is the means that He has provided for the spread of the gospel. To those who prove themselves faithful stewards He will commit greater trusts. Saith the Lord, “Them that honor Me I will honor.” 1 Samuel 2:30. “God loveth a cheerful giver,” and when His people, with grateful hearts, bring their gifts and offerings to Him, “not grudgingly, or of necessity,” His blessing will attend them, as He has promised. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3:10.  {PP 529.2}


God calls for talents of influence and of means. Shall we refuse to obey? Our heavenly Father bestows gifts and solicits a portion back, that He may test us whether we are worthy to have the gift of everlasting life. {3T 408.3}


I was shown that there have been unhappy results from making urgent calls for means at our camp meetings. This matter has been pressed too hard. Many men of means would not have done anything had not their hearts been softened and melted under the influence of the testimonies borne to them. But the poor have been deeply affected and, in the sincerity of their souls, have pledged means which they had a heart to give, but which they were unable to pay. In most instances urgent calls for means have left a wrong impression upon some minds. Some have thought that money was the burden of our message. Many have gone to their homes blessed because they had donated to the cause of God. But there are better methods of raising means, by freewill offerings, than by urgent calls at our large gatherings. If all come up to the plan of systematic benevolence, and if our tract and missionary workers are faithful in their department of the work, the treasury will be well supplied without these urgent calls at our large gatherings.  {3T 510.1}


The laborer is worth his pay

“Are We All Awake in Ohio? The work in this State is begun. The tent-meeting held last season in Gilboa, has been the means of spreading the truth far and wide, and the efforts of the messengers since have been attended with a blessing. But shall the work stop here? Shall not the loud cry still ring in the ears of this people, until all are warned of the impending storm? Certainly, says every saint. Amen. Let all hear.


How shall it be done? Funds are indispensable. Men must eat, drink and wear. Who will bear the burden? Shall eight, or ten, or twenty persons have all the burden to bear? A tent should be well manned: three or four preachers, and at least two good able-bodied and devoted men with the exclusive care of the tent; and these men should be well supplied with needful aid, and their families comfortably provided for at home, so that all anxiety on that score may be removed from their minds; then they can labor gladly and cheerfully. How must a man feel fifty miles from home, with a letter in his pocket from his wife stating that the meal box is empty, and the children’s shoes worn out, as he rises to preach and thinks of the bleeding cause of his Master, the impending storm that awaits a heartless world? And then as his mind wanders to the hungry, scant-clad dear ones at home, (for he loves his family,) what an effort of his faith to present the truth.


How his mind wanders from the subject. But says one, (a rich one, too,) an elder must be willing to endure hardness. Let an elder trust in God and go out and God will take care of him. So he will, dear man, when you, and the like of you, wail and lament. Yes, God will take care of those faithful ones who endure for his sake, when the vials of his wrath fall upon the rich men.


Now is the time for rich men to become poor, if it is not already too late. Now, now sell some of those acres, some of those colts, those fine cattle, now that extra farm. Soon it will be too late, soon you will throw the silver and gold in the streets. Perhaps there is yet time to lay it up in heaven. Perhaps mercy will linger a little longer.


Let us make the case our own. How would a farmer feel with only a week’s provision in his house, only fifty pounds of hay in the barn, only one suit of clothes, etc.?


One of the pioneers in the present truth has traveled three hundred miles on four cents, has slept in barns, and beneath his buggy, while publishing the truth. Who is accountable for this? Certainly those whom God has made stewards of his treasure, those who are heaping up treasure for the last days.


But says A., I must reserve land for my son. Stop, dear brother: think a moment. The 2300 days have closed. The angel upon sea and land has sworn to the close of time. Mercy lingers a moment. O how precious these moments. Seize the golden opportunity. Make the heart of Christ glad with your offerings. Make the angels smile with your sacrifices, while plenty and peace fill the hearts and homes of his chosen messengers. J. CLARKE.


“A peaceful conscience and a contented mind are the principal elements of happiness; the cross of Christ, and the promises of God, are designed to produce these, and no Christian should rest short of them.” ARSH March 11, 1858, page 129 – ARSH March 11, 1858, page 129.16


When a man leaves home for the missionary field and his work is not appreciated and the wife and children are left hungry and with worn-out shoes, the family takes preaching as a curse.



How does a person become qualified for tithe paid ministry work?  Men and women in local churches are to go out and work for the Lord as this is the duty of every Christian, but some will be especially called of God to consecrate themselves to his ministry full-time. As they go out and prove themselves by the fruit of their labors, word should be sent from the local church to the Conference concerning those who are doing a good work for the Lord and the Conference should investigate to see if the person or persons are truly qualified for tithe paid full time work. It is up to the Conference to examine the evidence and character of each candidate and to determine whether or not to hire a person under the tithe payroll. The exact details on what qualifies a person may have to be learned by Conference leadership but a thorough interview with the person, those who have been impacted by the person’s ministry and those whom know his character best should be sought for. The better the qualifying process, the more success per tithe dollar should be seen. I believe we should highly encourage qualifying ministers based on the quality of church members they produce rather than the quantity but quantity shouldn’t be entirely excluded. One church member reached by a minister who faithfully pays tithe and offering and is trained to do missionary work bringing in more souls is of far more quality then 10 lay people who remain stagnant in their growth.


“In order for a man to be a successful minister, something more than book knowledge is essential. The laborer for souls needs consecration, integrity, intelligence, industry, energy, and tact. Possessing these qualifications, no man can be inferior; instead, he will have a commanding influence for good. {GW 111.1} 



“Men who are chosen of God to labor in this cause, will give proof of their high calling, and will regard it as their highest duty to grow and improve until they shall become able workmen. Then, as they manifest an earnestness to improve upon the talent which God has intrusted to them, they should be helped judiciously. But the encouragement given them should not savor of flattery, for Satan himself will do enough of that kind of work. Men who think that they have a duty to preach, should not be sustained in throwing themselves and their families at once upon the brethren for support. They are not entitled to this until they can show good fruits of their labor. There is danger now of injuring young preachers, and those who have but little experience, by flattery, and by relieving them of burdens in life. When not preaching, they should be doing what they can for their own support. This is the best way to test the nature of their call to preach. If they desire to preach only that they may be supported as ministers, and the church pursue a judicious course, they will soon lose their burden, and leave preaching for a more profitable business. Paul, a most eloquent preacher, miraculously converted by God to do a special work, was not above labor. He says, “Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place; and labor, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it.” “Neither did we eat any man’s bread for naught; but wrought with labor and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you.” [1 Corinthians 4:11, 12; 2 Thessalonians 3:8.]  {GW92 145.2}”



“The Lord has shown that gospel order has been too much feared and neglected. Formality should be shunned; but, in so doing, order should not be neglected. There is order in heaven. There was order in the church when Christ was upon the earth, and after His departure order was strictly observed among His apostles. And now in these last days, while God is bringing His children into the unity of the faith, there is more real need of order than ever before; for, as God unites His children, Satan and his evil angels are very busy to prevent this unity and to destroy it. Therefore men are hurried into the field who lack wisdom and judgment, perhaps not ruling well their own house, and not having order or government over the few that God has given them charge of at home; yet they feel capable of having charge of the flock. They make many wrong moves, and those unacquainted with our faith judge all the messengers to be like these self-sent men. Thus the cause of God is reproached, and the truth shunned by many unbelievers who would otherwise be candid and anxiously inquire, Are these things so?  {EW 97.1}”


Laboring Under Difficulties

While Paul was careful to set before his converts the plain teaching of Scripture regarding the proper support of the work of God, and while he claimed for himself as a minister of the gospel the “power to forbear working” (1 Corinthians 9:6) at secular employment as a means of self-support, yet at various times during his ministry in the great centers of civilization he wrought at a handicraft for his own maintenance.  {AA 346.1} 


Among the Jews physical toil was not thought strange or degrading. Through Moses the Hebrews had been instructed to train their children to industrious habits, and it was regarded as a sin to allow the youth to grow up in ignorance of physical labor. Even though a child was to be educated for holy office, a knowledge of practical life was thought essential. Every youth, whether his parents were rich or poor, was taught some trade. Those parents who neglected to provide such a training for their children were looked upon as departing from the instruction of the Lord. In accordance with this custom, Paul had early learned the trade of tentmaking.  {AA 346.2}


Before he became a disciple of Christ, Paul had occupied a high position and was not dependent upon manual labor for support. But afterward, when he had used all his means in furthering the cause of Christ, he resorted at times to his trade to gain a livelihood. Especially was this the case when he labored in places where his motives might have been misunderstood.  {AA 347.1} 


It is at Thessalonica that we first read of Paul’s working with his hands in self-supporting labor while preaching the word. Writing to the church of believers there, he reminded them that he “might have been burdensome” to them, and added: “Ye remember, brethren, our labor and travail: for laboring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.” 1 Thessalonians 2:6, 9. And again, in his second epistle to them, he declared that he and his fellow laborer while with them had not eaten “any man’s bread for nought.” Night and day we worked, he wrote, “that we might not be chargeable to any of you: not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.” 2 Thessalonians 3:8, 9.  {AA 347.2}


At Thessalonica Paul had met those who refused to work with their hands. It was of this class that he afterward wrote: “There are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.” While laboring in Thessalonica, Paul had been careful to set before such ones a right example. “Even when we were with you,” he wrote, “this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” Verses 11, 12, 10.  {AA 347.3}


In every age Satan has sought to impair the efforts of God’s servants by introducing into the church a spirit of fanaticism. Thus it was in Paul’s day, and thus it was in later centuries during the time of the Reformation. Wycliffe, Luther, and many others who blessed the world by their influence and their faith, encountered the wiles by which the enemy seeks to lead into fanaticism overzealous, unbalanced, and unsanctified minds. Misguided souls have taught that the attainment of true holiness carries the mind above all earthly thoughts and leads men to refrain wholly from labor. Others, taking extreme views of certain texts of Scripture, have taught that it is a sin to work–that Christians should take no thought concerning the temporal welfare of themselves or their families, but should devote their lives wholly to spiritual things. The teaching and example of the apostle Paul are a rebuke to such extreme views.  {AA 348.1}


Paul was not wholly dependent upon the labor of his hands for support while at Thessalonica. Referring later to his experiences in that city, he wrote to the Philippian believers in acknowledgment of the gifts he had received from them while there, saying, “Even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.” Philippians 4:16. Notwithstanding the fact that he received this help he was careful to set before the Thessalonians an example of diligence, so that none could rightfully accuse him of covetousness, and also that those who held fanatical views regarding manual labor might be given a practical rebuke.  {AA 348.2}


When Paul first visited Corinth, he found himself among a people who were suspicious of the motives of strangers. The Greeks on the seacoast were keen traders. So long had they trained themselves in sharp business practices, that they had come to believe that gain was godliness, and that to make money, whether by fair means or foul, was commendable. Paul was acquainted with their characteristics, and he would give them no occasion for saying that he preached the gospel in order to enrich himself. He might justly have claimed support from his Corinthian hearers; but this right he was willing to forgo, lest his usefulness and success as a minister should be injured by the unjust suspicion that he was preaching the gospel for gain. He would seek to remove all occasion for misrepresentation, that the force of his message might not be lost.  {AA 349.1}


Soon after his arrival at Corinth, Paul found “a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla.” These were “of the same craft” with himself. Banished by the decree of Claudius, which commanded all Jews to leave Rome, Aquila and Priscilla had come to Corinth, where they established a business as manufacturers of tents. Paul made inquiry concerning them, and learning that they feared God and were seeking to avoid the contaminating influences with which they were surrounded, “he abode with them, and wrought. . . . And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.” Acts 18:2-4.  {AA 349.2}


Later, Silas and Timothy joined Paul at Corinth. These brethren brought with them funds from the churches in Macedonia, for the support of the work.  {AA 350.1}


In his second letter to the believers in Corinth, written after he had raised up a strong church there, Paul reviewed his manner of life among them. “Have I committed an offense,” he asked, “in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely? I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself. As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.” 2 Corinthians 11:7-10.  {AA 350.2}


Paul tells why he had followed this course in Corinth. It was that he might give no cause for reproach to “them which desire occasion.” 2 Corinthians 11:12. While he had worked at tentmaking he had also labored faithfully in the proclamation of the gospel. He himself declares of his labors, “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.” And he adds, “For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong. Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you. . . . And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you.” 2 Corinthians 12:12-15.  {AA 350.3}


During the long period of his ministry in Ephesus, where for three years he carried forward an aggressive evangelistic effort throughout that region, Paul again worked at his trade. In Ephesus, as in Corinth, the apostle was cheered by the presence of Aquila and Priscilla, who had accompanied him on his return to Asia at the close of his second missionary journey.  {AA 351.1}


There were some who objected to Paul’s toiling with his hands, declaring that it was inconsistent with the work of a gospel minister. Why should Paul, a minister of the highest rank, thus connect mechanical work with the preaching of the word? Was not the laborer worthy of his hire? Why should he spend in making tents time that to all appearance could be put to better account?  {AA 351.2} 


But Paul did not regard as lost the time thus spent. As he worked with Aquila he kept in touch with the Great Teacher, losing no opportunity of witnessing for the Saviour, and of helping those who needed help. His mind was ever reaching out for spiritual knowledge. He gave his fellow workers instruction in spiritual things, and he also set an example of industry and thoroughness. He was a quick, skillful worker, diligent in business, “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11. As he worked at his trade, the apostle had access to a class of people that he could not otherwise have reached. He showed his associates that skill in the common arts is a gift from God, who provides both the gift and the wisdom to use it aright. He taught that even in everyday toil God is to be honored. His toil-hardened hands detracted nothing from the force of his pathetic appeals as a Christian minister.  {AA 351.3} 


Paul sometimes worked night and day, not only for his own support, but that he might assist his fellow laborers. He shared his earnings with Luke, and he helped Timothy. He even suffered hunger at times, that he might relieve the necessities of others. His was an unselfish life. Toward the close of his ministry, on the occasion of his farewell talk to the elders of Ephesus, at Miletus, he could lift up before them his toilworn hands, and say, “I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:33-35.  {AA 352.1} 


If ministers feel that they are suffering hardship and privation in the cause of Christ, let them in imagination visit the workshop where Paul labored. Let them bear in mind that while this chosen man of God is fashioning the canvas, he is working for bread which he has justly earned by his labors as an apostle.  {AA 352.2}


Work is a blessing, not a curse. A spirit of indolence destroys godliness and grieves the Spirit of God. A stagnant pool is offensive, but a pure, flowing stream spreads health and gladness over the land. Paul knew that those who neglect physical work soon become enfeebled. He desired to teach young ministers that by working with their hands, by bringing into exercise their muscles and sinews, they would become strong to endure the toils and privations that awaited them in the gospel field. And he realized that his own teachings would lack vitality and force if he did not keep all parts of the system properly exercised.  {AA 352.3}


The indolent forfeit the invaluable experience gained by a faithful performance of the common duties of life. Not a few, but thousands of human beings exist only to consume the benefits which God in His mercy bestows upon them. They forget to bring to the Lord gratitude offerings for the riches He has entrusted to them. They forget that by trading wisely on the talents lent them they are to be producers as well as consumers. If they comprehended the work that the Lord desires them to do as His helping hand they would not shun responsibility.  {AA 353.1}


The usefulness of young men who feel that they are called by God to preach, depends much upon the manner in which they enter upon their labors. Those who are chosen of God for the work of the ministry will give proof of their high calling and by every possible means will seek to develop into able workmen. They will endeavor to gain an experience that will fit them to plan, organize, and execute. Appreciating the sacredness of their calling, they will, by self-discipline, become more and still more like their Master, revealing His goodness, love, and truth. And as they manifest earnestness in improving the talents entrusted to them, the church should help them judiciously.  {AA 353.2}


Not all who feel that they have been called to preach, should be encouraged to throw themselves and their families at once upon the church for continuous financial support. There is danger that some of limited experience may be spoiled by flattery, and by unwise encouragement to expect full support independent of any serious effort on their part. The means dedicated to the extension of the work of God should not be consumed by men who desire to preach only that they may receive support and thus gratify a selfish ambition for an easy life.  {AA 354.1} 


Young men who desire to exercise their gifts in the work of the ministry, will find a helpful lesson in the example of Paul at Thessalonica, Corinth, Ephesus, and other places. Although an eloquent speaker, and chosen by God to do a special work, he was never above labor, nor did he ever weary of sacrificing for the cause he loved. “Even unto this present hour,” he wrote to the Corinthians, “we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place; and labor, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it.” 1 Corinthians 4:11, 12.  {AA 354.2}


One of the greatest of human teachers, Paul cheerfully performed the lowliest as well as the highest duties. When in his service for the Master circumstances seemed to require it, he willingly labored at his trade. Nevertheless, he ever held himself ready to lay aside his secular work, in order to meet the opposition of the enemies of the gospel, or to improve a special opportunity to win souls to Jesus. His zeal and industry are a rebuke to indolence and desire for ease.  {AA 354.3}


Paul set an example against the sentiment, then gaining influence in the church, that the gospel could be proclaimed successfully only by those who were wholly freed from the necessity of physical toil. He illustrated in a practical way what might be done by consecrated laymen in many places where the people were unacquainted with the truths of the gospel. His course inspired many humble toilers with a desire to do what they could to advance the cause of God, while at the same time they supported themselves in daily labor. Aquila and Priscilla were not called to give their whole time to the ministry of the gospel, yet these humble laborers were used by God to show Apollos the way of truth more perfectly. The Lord employs various instrumentalities for the accomplishment of His purpose, and while some with special talents are chosen to devote all their energies to the work of teaching and preaching the gospel, many others, upon whom human hands have never been laid in ordination, are called to act an important part in soulsaving.  {AA 355.1}


There is a large field open before the self-supporting gospel worker. Many may gain valuable experiences in ministry while toiling a portion of the time at some form of manual labor, and by this method strong workers may be developed for important service in needy fields.  {AA 355.2}


The self-sacrificing servant of God who labors untiringly in word and doctrine, carries on his heart a heavy burden. He does not measure his work by hours. His wages do not influence him in his labor, nor is he turned from his duty because of unfavorable conditions. From heaven he received his commission, and to heaven he looks for his recompense when the work entrusted to him is done.  {AA 355.3}


It is God’s design that such workers shall be freed from unnecessary anxiety, that they may have full opportunity to obey the injunction of Paul to Timothy, “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them.” 1 Timothy 4:15. While they should be careful to exercise sufficiently to keep mind and body vigorous, yet it is not God’s plan that they should be compelled to spend a large part of their time at secular employment.  {AA 356.1}


These faithful workers, though willing to spend and be spent for the gospel, are not exempt from temptation. When hampered and burdened with anxiety because of a failure on the part of the church to give them proper financial support, some are fiercely beset by the tempter. When they see their labors so lightly prized, they become depressed. True, they look forward to the time of the judgment for their just award, and this buoys them up; but meanwhile their families must have food and clothing. If they could feel that they were released from their divine commission they would willingly labor with their hands. But they realize that their time belongs to God, notwithstanding the shortsightedness of those who should provide them with sufficient funds. They rise above the temptation to enter into pursuits by which they could soon place themselves beyond the reach of want, and they continue to labor for the advancement of the cause that is dearer to them than life itself. In order to do this, they may, however, be forced to follow the example of Paul and engage for a time in manual labor while continuing to carry forward their ministerial work. This they do to advance not their own interests, but the interests of God’s cause in the earth.  {AA 356.2} 


There are times when it seems to the servant of God impossible to do the work necessary to be done, because of the lack of means to carry on a strong, solid work. Some are fearful that with the facilities at their command they cannot do all that they feel it their duty to do. But if they advance in faith, the salvation of God will be revealed, and prosperity will attend their efforts. He who has bidden His followers go into all parts of the world will sustain every laborer who in obedience to His command seeks to proclaim His message.  {AA 357.1}


In the upbuilding of His work the Lord does not always make everything plain before His servants. He sometimes tries the confidence of His people by bringing about circumstances which compel them to move forward in faith. Often He brings them into strait and trying places, and bids them advance when their feet seem to be touching the waters of Jordan. It is at such times, when the prayers of His servants ascend to Him in earnest faith, that God opens the way before them and brings them out into a large place.  {AA 357.2}


When God’s messengers recognize their responsibilities toward the needy portions of the Lord’s vineyard, and in the spirit of the Master Worker labor untiringly for the conversion of souls, the angels of God will prepare the way before them, and the means necessary for the carrying forward of the work will be provided. Those who are enlightened will give freely to support the work done in their behalf. They will respond liberally to every call for help, and the Spirit of God will move upon their hearts to sustain the Lord’s cause not only in the home fields, but in the regions beyond. Thus strength will come to the working forces in other places, and the work of the Lord will advance in His own appointed way.  {AA 357.3}


About the Church and Unity

EGW ecclesiology (understanding of the church) traces God’s “church” through the Old and New Testaments, extending through the centuries until the return of Jesus. The church is “God’s fortress” that has existed “from the beginning” with “faithful souls … in every age.” For her, church membership on earth is not automatically equated with being enrolled in the “Lamb’s book of life. They may be joined to the church a denomination, but they are not united to the Lord.” MOL 223.4


Mrs. White’s frequent appeals for unity among Christians are primarily addressed to fellow church members whom she believes were called into existence “to restore the principles that are the foundation of the kingdom of God.” In the context of the nineteenth century she appealed to fellow Adventists: “If there was ever a time when the people of God should press together, it is now. God has committed to us the special truths for this time, to make known to the world…. We cannot afford now to give place to Satan by cherishing disunion, discord, and strife…. Divisions in the church dishonor the religion of Christ before the world, and give occasion to the enemies of truth to justify their course…. What are we doing to preserve unity in the bonds of peace?”


What does she mean when she pleads for unity within the church? First, she saw the unity of love in an international church as a magnificent witness to Christ’s prayer for unity in John 17. This same sentiment governs her solemn concern for unity among “different nationalities” and among different races.


Further, she urged that Seventh-day Adventist ministers should “come near to the ministers of other denominations. Pray for and with these men, for whom Christ is interceding…. As Christ’s messengers, we should manifest a deep, earnest interest in these shepherds of the flock.”


But underlying her unrelenting emphasis on unity as it fulfills Christ’s prayer in John 17 is this simple concept: Truth must not be sacrificed to achieve unity. After quoting Christ’s prayer that through the unity of His people the world may be drawn to Him, she wrote: “While we are not to sacrifice one principle of truth, it should be our constant aim to reach this state of unity.” MOL 223.5 – MOL 223.8





How EGW Published and Sold her Books and Why

Years ago, when I was in Battle Creek, I was much distressed that Great Controversy should lie idle on the shelf. For two years it was held back that Bible Readings might have more attention. All that I could say did not change the course of those who had control of the canvassing work. They treated me as if I were a child. If at that time I had appealed to the people, asking for agents to handle my books, and promising to supply them, it would have been in the order of the Lord; but now things have changed. There is not now a studied, determined effort to hold back the books that are of most importance. We are planning to bring out many books, and for the pioneer in our work to make any move now that would create confusion would not be wise. We must not bring any discouragement on our publishing houses at this critical period in their experience.  {1MR 169.2}


I know that the statement made that these books cannot be sold, is untrue. I know; for the Lord has instructed me that this is said because human devising has blocked the way for their sale. It cannot be denied that these works were not the product of any human mind; they are the voice of God speaking to His people and they will have an influence upon minds that other books do not have.–Manuscript 23, 1890.  {CM 129.2}


  • Sometimes it has been reported that I am trying to get rich. Some have written to us, inquiring, “Is not Mrs. White worth millions of dollars?” I am glad that I can say, “No.” I do not own in this world any place that is free from debt. Why?–Because I see so much missionary work to be done. Under such circumstances, could I hoard money?–No, indeed. I receive royalties from the sale of my books; but nearly all is spent in missionary work. {1SM 103.2} 


The head of one of our publishing houses in a distant foreign land, upon hearing from others recently that I was in need of means, sent me a bill of exchange for five hundred dollars; and in the letter accompanying the money, he said that in return for the thousands upon thousands of dollars royalty that I had turned over to their mission field for the translation and distribution of new books and for the support of new missionary enterprises, they regarded the enclosed five hundred dollars as a very small token of their appreciation. They sent this because of their desire to help me in my time of special need; but heretofore I have given, for the support of the Lord’s cause in foreign lands, all the royalties that come from the sale of my foreign books in Europe; and I intend to return this five hundred dollars as soon as I can free myself from debt.  {1SM 103.3}


  • For the glory of God, I will tell you that about four years ago He enabled me to finish writing a book on the parables of Jesus, and then He put it into my heart to give this book for the advancement of our denominational educational work. {1SM 103.4} 


  • At that time some of our larger training schools and colleges were heavily in debt; but through the efforts of our people to sell this book and to devote the entire proceeds to the liquidation of these debts, over two hundred thousand dollars has already been raised and applied on the debts; and the good work is still going on. The success of this plan has been a source of great satisfaction to me. I am now completing another book, to be used in a similar way for other enterprises. {1SM 104.1} 


  • But the financial gain is not the most encouraging feature to me. I love to dwell on the thought that the circulation of these books is bringing many souls into the truth. This thought makes my heart glad indeed. I have no time to sit down and mourn. I go right on with my work, and constantly keep writing, writing, writing. Early in the morning, when the rest of you are asleep, I am generally up, writing. {1SM 104.2} 


  • Even affliction has not caused me to cease writing. Not long after going to Australia, I was stricken with disease. Because of the dampness of the houses, I suffered an attack of inflammatory rheumatism, which prostrated me for eleven months. At times I was in intense agony. I could sleep in one position for only about two hours, then I had to be moved so that I could lie in another position. My rubber air mattress gave me very little relief, and I passed through periods of great suffering. {1SM 104.3} 


  • But in spite of this I did not cease my work. My right arm, from the elbow to the finger tips, was free from pain; the rest of the arm, the whole of the left arm, and both shoulders, could not be moved voluntarily. A framework was devised, and by the aid of this, I could write. During these eleven months, I wrote twenty-five hundred pages of letter paper, to send across the broad waters of the Pacific for publication in America. {1SM 104.4} 


  • I feel so thankful to the Lord that He never disappoints me; that He gives me strength and grace. As I stood by the side of my dying husband, I placed my hand in his, and said, “Do you know me, husband?” He nodded. Said I: “All through the years I have allowed you to bear the business responsibilities, and to lead out in new enterprises. Now I promise you to be a pioneer myself.” And I added, “If you realize what I say, grasp my hand a little more firmly.” He did so; he could not speak. {1SM 104.5} 


  • After my husband had been laid away in the grave, his friends thought of putting up a broken shaft as a monument. “Never!” said I, “never! He has done, singlehanded, the work of three men. Never shall a broken monument be placed over his grave!” … {1SM 105.1} 


  • God has helped me. Today I glorify His name in the presence of His people. I spent nearly ten years in Australia. A wonderful work has been done there; but more than twice as much could have been accomplished, if we had had the men and the means that we should have had. We thank God, nevertheless, for His sustaining presence, and for what we can now see in that field as the result of the efforts put forth.–Manuscript 8, 1904. {1SM 105.2}


When you hear people say EGW lived lavishly and enjoyed traveling, you must know they are lies. In fact EGW died in debt. EGW lived as a practicing medical missionary of Isaiah 58 and James 1:27. This is what was found:


In her diary for 1859, when she was a 31-year-old mother with three active boys, contains not only references to her many letters but also many jottings as to what she did with her family, etc: “January 2—Gave Sister Irving a warm cloak and dress and a few other things to make over for her.” “January 3—Paid Sister Bognes $1.00 for making a coat. She was unwilling to take it, but I felt it duty to hand it to her. She is poor and sickly. May the Lord pity and care for her. Said Jesus, ‘The poor always ye have with you.’ May the Lord rid us of selfishness and help us to care for others’ woes and relieve them.” “January 6—Gave Agnes a half-worn dress for her mother. They are poor. The husband and father is sick. Their crops have failed. Have breadstuff to buy and nothing to buy with. Agnes is their main support. She is only seventeen. There are four children now at home. They must suffer unless the church interests themselves in their behalf. May the Lord have mercy upon the needy, and put it in His children’s hearts to dispense to them with a liberal hand.” On and on the diaries go through the years.


Her personal example added power to her words as she enlisted others in welfare ministry. In 1860 she wrote the following lines in the church paper: “The treasury in the Poor Fund, consisting of clothes, et cetera, for those in need, is nearly exhausted. And as there are cases of destitution continually arising, and one new one has arisen recently, I thought it would be well for those who have clothing, bedding, or money to spare to send it on here immediately. We hope there will be no delay, for we are going to assist some that are needy as soon as we get things together. Send your donations to Sr. Uriah Smith or myself.” MOL 224.2 – MOL 224.3


The dignity of the person being helped always was considered. Ellen White made it clear that used clothing was most appropriate to give to the needy only if it were suitable to be worn without embarrassment: “Some of our people say to me, ‘Give away your old clothes, and that will help the poor.’ Should I give away the garments that I patch and enlarge, the people would not be able to see anything of which they could make use. I buy for them new, strong, durable material. I have visited the factories where they make tweed cloth and have bought a number of remnants that perhaps have a flaw but can be purchased cheap, and will do some good to those to whom we give. I can afford to wear the old garments until they are beyond repair. I have purchased your uncle excellent cloth for pants and vests, and he is now supplied with good respectable clothing. In this way I can supply large families of children with durable garments.”


  • Throughout Ellen White’s diary or letter files are requests to someone, on behalf of others, such as this needy student: “Will you please inquire of Brother _________ in regard to the clothing that he requires, and what he needs please furnish to him, and charge the same to my account.”


Of course, Ellen White realized that her family and a few others could not provide for all the desperate needs of those around her, including the needy in the church. While in Australia, she organized a “Dorcas Society” to relieve to some extent the burden that she carried for the disadvantaged. She wrote of one meeting of the Society that met in her home: “Last evening we had a Dorcas Society in our home, and my workers who help in the preparation of my articles for the papers and do the cooking and sewing, five of them, sat up until midnight, cutting out clothing. They made three pairs of pants for the children of one family. Two sewing machines were running until midnight. I think there was never a happierset of workers than were these girls last evening.”


In her own home, which often was filled with sick relatives and co-workers, the Whites worked in “medical missionary lines.” They took in the sick who had been given up by the physicians, and had many recoveries under the “mighty Healer”: “We used the simple water treatments, and then tried to fasten the eyes of the patients on the great Healer.” MOL 224.4 – MOL 225.2


As a general pattern of life, Ellen White would give ample sums to those who needed financial help. At times she would encourage others to “match” her gifts. She often made clear that in the main she gave for the purpose of helping the needy to become self-sufficient. One such occasion occurred in 1889 when she asked C. H. Jones to “match” her $100 to help Nellie L., a struggling widow with three children, who was trying to educate herself to do kindergarten work so “that she may keep her children with her.” She wrote: “I will help Nellie one hundred dollars if you will do the same….Will you encourage others to help her to get a start in life? It would be far better to do this than to wait and let Nellie be worn out with anxiety and care and fall in the struggle, leaving her children helpless, motherless, to be cared for by others…. I know she will struggle with all her powers to be self-supporting.” MOL 225.3


As a Medical Missionary

The Lord gave me great light on health reform. In connection with my husband, I was to be a medical missionary worker. I was to set an example to the church by taking the sick to my home and caring for them. This I have done, giving the women and children vigorous treatment. I was also to speak on the subject of Christian temperance, as the Lord’s appointed messenger. I engaged heartily in this work, and spoke to large assemblies on temperance in its broadest and truest sense. {1SM 33.2}


I was instructed that I must ever urge upon those who profess to believe the truth, the necessity of practicing the truth. This means sanctification, and sanctification means the culture and training of every capability for the Lord’s service. {1SM 33.3}


I was charged not to neglect or pass by those who were being wronged. I was specially charged to protest against any arbitrary or overbearing action toward the ministers of the gospel by those having official authority. Disagreeable though the duty may be, I am to reprove the oppressor, and plead for justice. I am to present the necessity of maintaining justice and equity in all our institutions. {1SM 33.4}


If I see those in positions of trust neglecting aged ministers, I am to present the matter to those whose duty it is to care for them. Ministers who have faithfully done their work are not to be forgotten or neglected when they have become feeble in health. Our conferences are not to disregard the needs of those who have borne the burdens of the work. It was after John had grown old in the service of the Lord that he was exiled to Patmos. And on that lonely isle he received more communications from heaven than he had received during the rest of his lifetime. {1SM 33.5}


After my marriage I was instructed that I must show a special interest in motherless and fatherless children, taking some under my own charge for a time, and then finding homes for them. Thus I would be giving others an example of what they could do. {1SM 34.1}


Although called to travel often, and having much writing to do, I have taken children of three and five years of age, and have cared for them, educated them, and trained them for responsible positions. I have taken into my home from time to time boys from ten to sixteen years of age, giving them motherly care, and a training for service. I have felt it my duty to bring before our people that work for which those in every church should feel a responsibility. {1SM 34.2}


While in Australia I carried on this same line of work, taking into my home orphan children, who were in danger of being exposed to temptations that might cause the loss of their souls. {1SM 34.3}


How to Execute Isaiah 58

In carrying out the medical missionary work as outlined in Isaiah 58 and James 1:27, we are not to become social workers or humanitarians. Such work is for NGOs, Red Cross etcetera. We are to prepare a people to stand true to God during the Day of Atonement.


Through the years Mrs. White gave specific instruction regarding how individuals, and, at times, the church as a body, should care for the “unfortunate, the blind, the lame, the afflicted, the widows, the orphans, and the needy.” She said that Christians who have pity on those people are represented by Christ “as commandment keepers, who shall have eternal life.”


  • But she kept this ministry to the unfortunate in perspective. She was insistent that struggling church members should not be overlooked in “the wholesale business of feeding the wretched class who are in poverty”: “If you knew the circumstances of this brother, and did not make earnest efforts to relieve him, and change his oppression to freedom, you are not working the works of Christ, and are guilty before God. I write plainly, for, from the light given me of God, there is a class of work that is neglected.” She called it “misdirected zeal” to pass by those in “the household of faith and let their cry of distress come up to God because of suffering which we might alleviate.”


Ellen White was specific regarding the Christian’s responsibility to widows with children, to orphans and foster parents, to the aged, and to the blind.


In the 1890s, Dr. Kellogg was reaching out to the social outcasts in Chicago. Ellen White had joined him through the years on similar projects. In 1898, however, she wrote him seventeen letters, many of them concerning the unbalanced focus in the welfare missions that the Medical Missionary and Benevolent Association was sponsoring “in a dozen large American cities scattered from New York to San Francisco.” “Constant work is to be done for the outcasts, but this work is not to be made all-absorbing…. All the means must not be bound up in the work, for the highways have not yet received the message…. No one should now visit our churches, and claim from them means to sustain the work of rescuing outcasts. The means to sustain that work should come … from those not of our faith.”


Though Ellen White continually held up the challenge of taking the gospel to those “however fallen, however dishonored and debased,” she clearly strove for perspective: “The Lord has marked out our way of working. As a people we are not to imitate and fall in with Salvation Army methods. This is not the work that the Lord has given us to do. Neither is it our work to condemn them and speak harsh words against them. There are precious, self-sacrificing souls in the Salvation Army…. The Salvation Army workers are trying to save the neglected, downtrodden ones. Discourage them not. Let them do that class of work by their own methods and in their own way. But the Lord has plainly pointed out the work that Seventh-day Adventists are to do.” MOL 225.5 – MOL 226.2


These cautions were aimed at the misdirection of city mission work; it needed correction, not dismantling. Ellen White was most explicit regarding the work to be done in the cities, strongly supporting the evangelistic centers with their restaurants, literature distribution centers, and, in some cases, lodging for the workers involved in the centers. MOL 226.3





God’s Purpose in the Great Controversy

God’s response has been, not to destroy Satan, but to expose him. God’s long-term interest is to demonstrate how wrong Satan has been to charge Him with being supremely selfish, arbitrary, and unfair. Primarily through the life and death of Jesus, and through His designated people on earth, God has been revealing and demonstrating His side of the story. MOL 257.3


God’s purpose in the Controversy is twofold: (1) To demonstrate before all the universe “the nature of rebellion” and, in so doing, “vindicate … His character,” and (2) to restore in men and women “the image of God.” More than forgiveness, the goal of the gospel is restoration.


The new earth will be populated with those who have let God fulfill His plan for restoring His image in them. Thus, the goal of redemption is not forgiveness but restoration; the purpose of the gospel is to restore all that was harmed by sin, to bring men and women back to their original state, step by step. Only by redeeming overcomers (Revelation 3:5, 12, 21) will God be able to “place things on an eternal basis of security.” MOL 257.5 – MOL 257.6


God is not the kind of person that Satan has made Him out to be. God is not severe, unforgiving, harsh, arbitrary, or unfair. Although God revealed Himself in His law and other revelations through His prophets, Jesus is God’s clearest revelation. MOL 257.10


(a) Jesus proved that God was not unfair—that is, He did not make laws that created beings cannot keep.


(b) Jesus proved that God was not selfish by demanding submission and sacrifice from His created intelligences without manifesting the same willingness to sacrifice for others. His own life and death, an eternal gift to humanity, revealed God’s unselfishness toward His created beings.


(c) Jesus proved that God was not “severe, exacting, and harsh,” by revealing God’s tact, thoughtfulness, self-denial, forbearance, and love under rejection.


Because God is fair, loving, and respectful of His created intelligences, He does not coerce, force, intimidate, or deceive them in order to obtain their loyalty, submission, or compliance. MOL 258.1 – MOL 258.2


The Sanctuary

EGW understanding of theology, though grounded in vision experiences, grew through the years as she listened to her Adventist colleagues cross-pollinate each other with their Biblical studies. MOL 259.5


  • Her written understanding of the sanctuary doctrine, for example, became the microcosm of the plan of salvation. This teaching not only was the “key” that unlocked the mystery of the 1844 disappointment, “it opened to view a complete system of truth, connected and harmonious, showing that God’s hand had directed the great Advent Movement, and revealing present duty as it brought to light the position and work of His people…. Light from the sanctuary illumined the past, the present, and the future.”


From the earliest days of her prophetic ministry, Ellen White saw in the three angels’ messages (Revelation 14:1-12) “the perfect chain of truth.” Flowing from within this “chain” was the sanctuary doctrine. These Biblical messages “were represented to her as an anchor to hold the body.” MOL 260.1 – MOL 260.2


The Law and the Gospel

One of the great tragedy that has ever befallen Christendom and given birth to false Protestantism has been the disability to present the law and the gospel not as antithetical but as correlates. A sincere seeker of truth, who is not studying the Bible to please the fancy and build up defence of his opinions will find that the law does not forbid what the gospel permits, and the gospel does not permit what the law forbids. No man can rightly present the law of God without the gospel, or the gospel without the law. The law is the gospel embodied, and the gospel is the law unfolded. But since we have lost the meaning of studying and meditation which its primary purpose is to recognize our condition as a sinner and flee to Jesus as a remedy, debates and arguments are confused to be a sign of piousness and devout life when the real condition has been diagnosed as Laodicea. The messenger foreseeing this condition laments :


  • “I am filled with sadness when I think of our condition as a people. The Lord has not closed heaven to us, but our own course of continual backsliding has separated us from God. Pride, covetousness, and love of the world have lived in the heart without fear of banishment or condemnation. Grievous and presumptuous sins have dwelt among us. And yet the general opinion is that the church is flourishing, and that peace and spiritual prosperity are in all her borders. The church has turned back from following Christ her leader and is steadily retreating toward Egypt. Yet few are alarmed or astonished at their want of spiritual power. Doubt, and even disbelief of the testimonies of the Spirit of God, is leavening our churches everywhere. Satan would have it thus.—Testimonies for the Church 5:217.


The Relationship between the Old and New Covenants

“As the Bible presents two laws, one changeless and eternal, the other provisional and temporary, so there are two covenants. The covenant of grace was first made with man in Eden…. To all men this covenant offered pardon, and the assisting grace of God for future obedience through faith in Christ…. The law of God was the basis of this covenant, which was simply an arrangement for bringing men again into harmony with the divine will.… Another compact—called in Scripture the ‘old’ covenant—was formed between God and Israel at Sinai…. But if the Abrahamic covenant contained the promise of redemption, why was another covenant formed at Sinai? … Living in the midst of idolatry and corruption, they had no true conception of the holiness of God, of the exceeding sinfulness of their own hearts, their utter inability, in themselves, to render obedience to God’s law, and their need of a Saviour. All this they must be taught…. The same law that was engraved upon the tables of stone, is written by the Holy Spirit upon the tables of the heart.” MOL 263.6


Doctrinal Correctness

Because of the Great Controversy Theme as expressed in the ellipse principle, Ellen White was able to transcend the objectivists (undue emphasis on doctrinal correctness) and the subjectivists (undue emphasis on feeling or human autonomy) of her time. This ability was very evident in the 1888 Minneapolis doctrinal crisis. Note how she transcended the tensions in contemporary theologies: “While one class pervert the doctrine of justification by faith and neglect to comply with the conditions laid down in the Word of God—’If ye love Me, keep My commandments’—there is fully as great an error on the part of those who claim to believe and obey the commandments of God but who place themselves in opposition to the precious rays of light—new to them—reflected from the cross of Calvary. The first class do not see the wondrous things in the law of God for all who are doers of His Word. The others cavil over trivialities and neglect the weightier matters, mercy and the love of God.


  • “Many have lost very much in that they have not opened the eyes of their understanding to discern the wondrous things in the law of God. On the other hand, religionists generally have divorced the law and the gospel, while we have, on the other hand, almost done the same from another standpoint. We have not held up before the people the righteousness of Christ and the full significance of His great plan of redemption. We have left out Christ and His matchless love, brought in theories and reasonings, and preached argumentative discourses.”


Limited ideas of the character and purposes of God lead to limited ideas of the atonement. Monumental arguments have arisen throughout Christian history because the disputants did not understand the truths involved in the Great Controversy. MOL 268.2 – MOL 268.4


Limited Views of the Atonement

Ellen White was led to see the results of “limited views of the atonement.” Some of these results included:


(1) A limited sense of what Christ suffered on Calvary, linking His agony to physical pain only.


(2) A limited sense of how the Father was involved in the agony of Calvary, not comprehending that God’s wrath expressed in His withdrawal of His immediate presence was the ultimate “price of redemption.”


(3) A limited sense of how Christ’s life and death together “were earning the right” for Jesus to become humanity’s High Priest.


(4) A limited sense of how far-reaching Christ’s atonement was in that it embraced everyone who has ever lived, this limited sense caused by the presupposition that God’s sovereignty has chosen both the special “elect” and those predestined to burn in an eternal hell-fire. MOL 268.5 – MOL 269.1


(5) A limited sense of the “cost” of what God “gave” (John 3:16) in the death of Jesus by not recognizing that Jesus did not resume all of His former prerogatives, that He indeed “gave” Himself to the human race, to forever identify as a human with the human race—He was forever limited to time and space.


(6) A limited sense of what Christ “satisfied” on Calvary in not recognizing that He died to give sinners a “second probation … that they might return to their loyalty and keep God’s commandments,” not that He died so that obedience to God’s law was unnecessary.


(7) A limited sense of the “atonement” by confining the benefits to justification only, not grasping that the atonement was a “divine remedy for the cure of transgression and the restoration of spiritual health,” not sensing that it provided the means “by which the righteousness of Christ may be not only upon us but in our hearts and characters.”


(8) A limited sense of the depth in Jesus’ cry, “My God, my God, why? …” whenever a person believes in the immortal soul error, not realizing that His hour of death was that which all sinners will experience in their “second” death after the judgment. Nobody on this planet except Christ has really died, those who have “passed on” are only sleeping, awaiting the Life Giver’s call; Jesus felt the final agony of sinners who realize what they have rejected. Further, Jesus paid the “penalty of sin” thus proving that Satan was wrong when he said, “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4).


(9) A limited sense of sin in that most Christians have no idea of the universal implication of sin on this earth and how it affects the well-being of the universe.


(10) A limited sense of how God plans, because of the atonement, to “place things on an eternal basis of security,” a plan that involves an executive review including angels prior to the Second Advent of all people who have ever lived, and then a peer review conducted by the redeemed between the two resurrections (John 5:29). MOL 269.1 – MOL 269.7


  • The Seventh-day Adventist movement was not reborn to replace Judaism by assuming the prerogative of arbiter of truth and leading in mere interpretation of prophecies, explanation of eschatological and apocalyptic events. It’s mission was to practically apply those truths to their lives and stand out as people who receives by faith the merits of the High Priest in the Day of Atonement. Their lives was to go before their explanation of these themes of the great controversy. But lo, how this grand theme has been replaced by speculative theories, prophecies interpreted by false current news from the enemies media and thou shalt not do this and that. This is in itself an identity crisis. A movement which has lost a knowledge of their sacred calling.


Misapprehension of the Character of God

Because of Ellen White’s understanding of the Great Controversy Theme, she could clearly teach why suffering existed, who caused it, and when it would end. Amidst a mountain of speculative books written since the dawn of history on the problem of suffering, she lucidly explained that “sickness, suffering, and death are the work of an antagonistic power. Satan is the destroyer; God is the restorer.”


Throughout Christian history the notion has prevailed that God punishes sinners and that a suffering sinner must accept his or her plight as the will of God. An incorrect picture of God’s character produces this kind of thinking. Because of Ellen White’s understanding of the Great Controversy as it unfolds in the Biblical story, she was able to transcend the prevailing view: “It is true that all suffering results from the transgression of God’s law, but this truth had become perverted. Satan, the author of sin and all its results, had led men to look upon disease and death as proceeding from God—as punishment arbitrarily inflicted on account of sin…. The history of Job had shown that suffering is inflicted by Satan, and is overruled by God for purposes of mercy. But Israel did not understand the lesson. The same error for which God had reproved the friends of Job was repeated by the Jews in their rejection of Christ.” MOL 269.8 – MOL 269.9


Ellen White did not lay the blame for all suffering on Satan’s direct intervention. She recognized that whenever men and women accept Satan’s philosophy of self-indulgence they open the door to sad consequences. Jesus “taught that they had brought disease upon themselves by transgressing the laws of God, and that health could be preserved only by obedience.”


Yet, she saw even more in the big picture regarding suffering. She saw how God would use (not cause) human troubles as a means of helping human beings to “be partakers of His holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). Though the suffering has been caused either by satanic intervention or by wrong human choices, God will intervene and help the sufferers find a blessing amidst the misery. She asked: “How many there are who would never have known Jesus had not sorrow led them to seek comfort in Him! The trials of life are God’s workmen, to remove the impurities and roughness from our character…. The Lord will work for all who put their trust in Him. Precious victories will be gained by the faithful. Precious lessons will be learned. Precious experiences will be realized.” “The trials of life” that could destroy all hope are turned around by God, if He is asked, and made His “workmen” for each person’s spiritual growth. MOL 269.10 – MOL 270.2


Jesus spoke of another kind of suffering not caused by human disobedience to the laws of life—the frequent fallout of serving righteousness (Matthew 5:10). Paul referred to this kind of suffering: “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). In many comforting and ennobling ways, Ellen White put suffering for truth’s sake in its proper perspective: “God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as coworkers with Him. Not Enoch, who was translated to heaven, not Elijah, who ascended in a chariot of fire, was greater or more honored than John the Baptist, who perished alone in the dungeon…. And of all the gifts that Heaven can bestow upon men, fellowship with Christ in His sufferings is the most weighty trust and the highest honor.” MOL 270.3


Spiritualism the Foundation of all False Doctrines

But none need be deceived by the lying CLAIMS OF SPIRITUALISM. God has given the world sufficient light to enable them to discover the snare. As already shown, THE THEORY WHICH FORMS THE VERY FOUNDATION OF SPIRITUALISM IS AT WAR WITH THE PLAINEST STATEMENTS OF SCRIPTURE. The Bible declares that the dead know not anything, that their thoughts have perished; they have no part in anything that is done under the sun; they know nothing of the joys or sorrows of those who were dearest to them on earth.  {GC 556.1}


The Punishment of Idolaters

Of all the sins that God will punish, none are more grievous in His sight than those that encourage others to do evil. God would have His servants prove their loyalty by faithfully rebuking transgression, however painful the act may be. Those who are honored with a divine commission are not to be weak, pliant time-servers. They are not to aim at self-exaltation, or to shun disagreeable duties, but to perform God’s work with unswerving fidelity.  {PP 323.3}


Though God had granted the prayer of Moses in sparing Israel from destruction, their apostasy was to be signally punished. The lawlessness and insubordination into which Aaron had permitted them to fall, if not speedily crushed, would run riot in wickedness, and would involve the nation in irretrievable ruin. By terrible severity the evil must be put away. Standing in the gate of the camp, Moses called to the people, “Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me.” Those who had not joined in the apostasy were to take their position at the right of Moses; those who were guilty but repentant, at the left. The command was obeyed. It was found that the tribe of Levi had taken no part in the idolatrous worship. From among other tribes there were great numbers who, although they had sinned, now signified their repentance. But a large company, mostly of the mixed multitude that instigated the making of the calf, stubbornly persisted in their rebellion. In the name of “the Lord God of Israel,” MOSES NOW COMMANDED THOSE UPON HIS RIGHT HAND, WHO HAD KEPT THEMSELVES CLEAR OF IDOLATRY, TO GIRD ON THEIR SWORDS AND SLAY ALL WHO PERSISTED IN REBELLION. “And there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.” Without regard to position, kindred, or friendship, the ringleaders in wickedness were cut off; but all who repented and humbled themselves were spared.  {PP 324.1}


THOSE WHO PERFORMED THIS TERRIBLE WORK OF JUDGMENT WERE ACTING BY DIVINE AUTHORITY, EXECUTING THE SENTENCE OF THE KING OF HEAVEN. Men are to beware how they, in their human blindness, judge and condemn their fellow men; BUT WHEN GOD COMMANDS THEM TO EXECUTE HIS SENTENCE UPON INIQUITY, HE IS TO BE OBEYED. Those who performed this painful act, thus manifested their abhorrence of rebellion and idolatry, and CONSECRATED THEMSELVES MORE FULLY TO THE SERVICE OF THE TRUE GOD. The Lord honored their faithfulness by bestowing special distinction upon the tribe of Levi.  {PP 324.2}


The Israelites had been guilty of treason, and that against a King who had loaded them with benefits and whose authority they had voluntarily pledged themselves to obey. That the divine government might be maintained justice must be visited upon the traitors. Yet even here God’s mercy was displayed. While He maintained His law, He granted freedom of choice and opportunity for repentance to all. Only those were cut off who persisted in rebellion.  {PP 324.3}


It was necessary that this sin should be punished, as a testimony to surrounding nations of God’s displeasure against idolatry. BY EXECUTING JUSTICE UPON THE GUILTY, MOSES, AS GOD’S INSTRUMENT, MUST LEAVE ON RECORD A SOLEMN AND PUBLIC PROTEST AGAINST THEIR CRIME. As the Israelites should hereafter condemn the idolatry of the neighboring tribes, their enemies would throw back upon them the charge that the people who claimed Jehovah as their God had made a calf and worshiped it in Horeb. Then though compelled to acknowledge the disgraceful truth, Israel could point to the terrible fate of the transgressors, as evidence that their sin had not been sanctioned or excused.  {PP 325.1}


LOVE NO LESS THAN JUSTICE DEMANDED THAT FOR THIS SIN JUDGMENT SHOULD BE INFLICTED. God is the guardian as well as the sovereign of His people. He cuts off those who are determined upon rebellion, that they may not lead others to ruin. In sparing the life of Cain, God had demonstrated to the universe what would be the result of permitting sin to go unpunished. The influence exerted upon his descendants by his life and teaching led to the state of corruption that demanded the destruction of the whole world by a flood. The history of the antediluvians testifies that long life is not a blessing to the sinner; God’s great forbearance did not repress their wickedness. The longer men lived, the more corrupt they became.  {PP 325.2}


So with the apostasy at Sinai. Unless punishment had been speedily visited upon transgression, the same results would again have been seen. The earth would have become as corrupt as in the days of Noah. Had these transgressors been spared, evils would have followed, greater than resulted from sparing the life of Cain. IT WAS THE MERCY OF GOD THAT THOUSANDS SHOULD SUFFER, TO PREVENT THE NECESSITY OF VISITING JUDGMENTS UPON MILLIONS. IN ORDER TO SAVE THE MANY, HE MUST PUNISH THE FEW. Furthermore, as the people had cast off their allegiance to God, they had forfeited the divine protection, and, deprived of their defense, the whole nation was exposed to the power of their enemies. Had not the evil been promptly put away, they would soon have fallen a prey to their numerous and powerful foes. It was necessary for the good of Israel, and also as a lesson to all succeeding generations, that crime should be promptly punished. AND IT WAS NO LESS A MERCY TO THE SINNERS THEMSELVES THAT THEY SHOULD BE CUT SHORT IN THEIR EVIL COURSE. Had their life been spared, the same spirit that led them to rebel against God would have been manifested in hatred and strife among themselves, and they would eventually have destroyed one another. IT WAS IN LOVE TO THE WORLD, IN LOVE TO ISRAEL, AND EVEN TO THE TRANSGRESSORS, THAT CRIME WAS PUNISHED WITH SWIFT AND TERRIBLE SEVERITY.  {PP 325.3}


As the people were roused to see the enormity of their guilt, terror pervaded the entire encampment. It was feared that every offender was to be cut off. Pitying their distress, Moses promised to plead once more with God for them.  {PP 326.1}


“Ye have sinned a great sin,” he said, “and now I will go up unto the Lord; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin.” He went, and in his confession before God he said, “Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now if Thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written.” The answer was, “WHOSOEVER HATH SINNED AGAINST ME, HIM WILL I BLOT OUT OF MY BOOK. Therefore now go, lead the people into the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, Mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.”  {PP 326.2}


In the prayer of Moses our minds are directed to the heavenly records in which the names of all men are inscribed, and their deeds, whether good or evil, are faithfully registered. The book of life contains the names of all who have ever entered the service of God. IF ANY OF THESE DEPART FROM HIM, AND BY STUBBORN PERSISTENCE IN SIN BECOME FINALLY HARDENED AGAINST THE INFLUENCES OF HIS HOLY SPIRIT, THEIR NAMES WILL IN THE JUDGMENT BE BLOTTED FROM THE BOOK OF LIFE, AND THEY THEMSELVES WILL BE DEVOTED TO DESTRUCTION. Moses realized how dreadful would be the fate of the sinner; yet if the people of Israel were to be rejected by the Lord, he desired his name to be blotted out with theirs; he could not endure to see the judgments of God fall upon those who had been so graciously delivered. The intercession of Moses in behalf of Israel illustrates the mediation of Christ for sinful men. But the Lord did not permit Moses to bear, as did Christ, the guilt of the transgressor. “Whosoever hath sinned against Me,” He said, “him will I blot out of My book.”  {PP 326.3}


In deep sadness the people had buried their dead. Three thousand had fallen by the sword; a plague had soon after broken out in the encampment; and now the message came to them that the divine Presence would no longer accompany them in their journeyings. Jehovah had declared, “I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way.” And the command was given, “Put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee.” Now there was mourning throughout the encampment. In penitence and humiliation “the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb.”  {PP 327.1}



The ark remained in the house of Abinadab until David was made king. He gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand, and went to bring up the ark of God. They set the ark upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, drove the cart. David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord on all manner of musical instruments. “And when they came to Nachon’s threshing-floor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. AND THE ANGER OF THE LORD WAS KINDLED AGAINST UZZAH, AND GOD SMOTE HIM THERE FOR HIS ERROR; AND THERE HE DIED BY THE ARK OF GOD.” Uzzah was angry with the oxen, because they stumbled. He showed a manifest distrust of God, as though he who had brought the ark from the land of the Philistines, could not take care of it. ANGELS WHO ATTENDED THE ARK STRUCK DOWN UZZAH FOR PRESUMING IMPATIENTLY TO PUT HIS HAND UPON THE ARK OF GOD.  {1SP 410.1}


Theory of Eternal Torment Opposite Extreme

The theory of eternal torment is one of the false doctrines that constitute the wine of the abomination of Babylon, of which she makes all nations drink. Revelation 14:8; 17:2. That ministers of Christ should have accepted this heresy and proclaimed it from the sacred desk is indeed a mystery. They received it from Rome, as they received the false sabbath. TRUE, IT HAS BEEN TAUGHT BY GREAT AND GOOD MEN; BUT THE LIGHT ON THIS SUBJECT HAD NOT COME TO THEM AS IT HAS COME TO US. They were responsible only for the light which shone in their time; we are accountable for that which shines in our day. If we turn from the testimony of God’s word, and accept false doctrines because our fathers taught them, we fall under the condemnation pronounced upon Babylon; we are drinking of the wine of her abomination.  {GC 536.3}


A LARGE CLASS TO WHOM THE DOCTRINE OF ETERNAL TORMENT IS REVOLTING ARE DRIVEN TO THE OPPOSITE ERROR. They see that the Scriptures represent God AS A BEING OF LOVE AND COMPASSION, AND THEY CANNOT BELIEVE THAT HE WILL CONSIGN HIS CREATURES TO THE FIRES OF AN ETERNALLY BURNING HELL. But holding that the soul is naturally immortal, they see no alternative but to conclude that all mankind will finally be saved. Many regard the threatenings of the Bible as designed merely to frighten men into obedience, and not to be literally fulfilled. Thus the sinner can live in selfish pleasure, disregarding the requirements of God, and yet expect to be finally received into His favor. SUCH A DOCTRINE, PRESUMING UPON GOD’S MERCY, BUT IGNORING HIS JUSTICE, PLEASES THE CARNAL HEART AND EMBOLDENS THE WICKED IN THEIR INIQUITY.  {GC 537.1}


Punishment of Korah

How carefully God protects the rights of men! HE HAS ATTACHED A PENALTY TO WILFUL MURDER. “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed” (Genesis 9:6). If one murderer were permitted to go unpunished, he would by his evil influence and cruel violence subvert others. This would result in a condition of things similar to that which existed before the flood. God must punish murderers. HE GIVES LIFE, AND HE WILL TAKE LIFE, IF THAT LIFE BECOMES A TERROR AND A MENACE. Mercy shown to a wilful murderer is cruelty to his fellow men. IF A WILFUL MURDERER THINKS THAT HE WILL FIND PROTECTION BY FLEEING TO THE ALTAR OF GOD, HE MAY FIND THAT HE WILL BE FORCED FROM THAT ALTAR AND BE SLAIN. But if a man takes life unintentionally, then God declares that He will provide a place of refuge, to which he can flee.  {2SAT 186.4}


Sin Against the Holy Ghost

Korah would not have taken the course he did had he known that all the directions and reproofs communicated to Israel were from God. But he might have known this. God had given overwhelming evidence that He was leading Israel. But Korah and his companions rejected light until they became so blinded that the most striking manifestations of His power were not sufficient to convince them; THEY ATTRIBUTED THEM ALL TO HUMAN OR SATANIC AGENCY. The same thing was done by the people, who the day after the destruction of Korah and his company came to Moses and Aaron, saying, “YE HAVE KILLED THE PEOPLE OF THE LORD.” Notwithstanding they had had the most convincing evidence of GOD’S DISPLEASURE AT THEIR COURSE, IN THE DESTRUCTION OF THE MEN WHO HAD DECEIVED THEM, THEY DARED TO ATTRIBUTE HIS JUDGMENTS TO SATAN, DECLARING THAT THROUGH THE POWER OF THE EVIL ONE, MOSES AND AARON HAD CAUSED THE DEATH OF GOOD AND HOLY MEN. IT WAS THIS ACT THAT SEALED THEIR DOOM. THEY HAD COMMITTED THE SIN AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT, A SIN BY WHICH MAN’S HEART IS EFFECTUALLY HARDENED AGAINST THE INFLUENCE OF DIVINE GRACE. “Whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man,” said Christ, “it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him.” Matthew 12:32. These words were spoken by our Saviour WHEN THE GRACIOUS WORKS WHICH HE HAD PERFORMED THROUGH THE POWER OF GOD WERE ATTRIBUTED BY THE JEWS TO BEELZEBUB. It is through the agency of the Holy Spirit that God communicates with man; and those who deliberately reject this agency as satanic, have cut off the channel of communication between the soul and Heaven.  {PP 404.4}


A single angel destroyed all the first-born of the Egyptians, and filled the land with mourning. When David offended against God by numbering the people, one angel caused that terrible destruction by which his sin was punished. THE SAME DESTRUCTIVE POWER EXERCISED BY HOLY ANGELS WHEN GOD COMMANDS, WILL BE EXERCISED BY EVIL ANGELS WHEN HE PERMITS. THERE ARE FORCES NOW READY, AND ONLY WAITING THE DIVINE PERMISSION, TO SPREAD DESOLATION EVERYWHERE.  {GC88 614.2}


The Days of Noah – MR No. 963

AS THEY REASONED IN NOAH’S DAY THEY REASON TODAY, when the warning message is proclaimed to fear God and keep His commandments. The wrath of God is soon to fall on all the sinful and disobedient, and they will perish in the general conflagration. Professed servants of Christ who are unfaithful, who do not reverence God and with fear prepare for the terrible future event, will lull themselves to carnal security with their FALLACIOUS REASONING, as they did in Noah’s day. “God is too good and too merciful [they reason] to save just a few who keep the Sabbath and believe the message of warning. The great men and the good men, the philosophers and men of wisdom would see the Sabbath and the shortness of time, if it were true.” THEY DO NOT BELIEVE A MERCIFUL GOD WHO MADE MEN WILL CONSUME THEM WITH FIRE BECAUSE THEY DO NOT BELIEVE THE WARNINGS GIVEN. THIS, THEY REASON, IS NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH GOD. {12MR 207.1}




God’s goodness and long forbearance, His patience and mercy exercised to His subjects, WILL NOT HINDER HIM FROM PUNISHING THE SINNER WHO REFUSED TO BE OBEDIENT TO HIS REQUIREMENTS. It is not for a man–a criminal against God’s holy law, pardoned only through the great sacrifice He made in giving His Son to die for the guilty because His law was changeless–TO DICTATE TO GOD. After all this effort on the part of God to preserve the sacred and exalted character of His law, if men, through the sophistry of the devil, turn the mercy and condescension of God into a curse, they must suffer the penalty. Because Christ died they consider they have liberty to transgress God’s holy law that condemns the transgressor, and WOULD COMPLAIN OF ITS STRICTNESS AND ITS PENALTY AS SEVERE AND UNLIKE GOD. THEY ARE UTTERING THE WORDS SATAN UTTERS TO MILLIONS, TO QUIET THEIR CONSCIENCE IN REBELLION AGAINST GOD.  {12MR 208.1}


God’s Kingdom is not left to Satan to Execute Judgment

IN NO KINGDOM OR GOVERNMENT IS IT LEFT TO THE LAWBREAKERS TO SAY WHAT PUNISHMENT IS TO BE EXECUTED AGAINST THOSE WHO HAVE BROKEN THE LAW. All we have, all the bounties of His grace which we possess, we owe to God. The aggravating character of sin against such a God cannot be estimated any more than the heavens can be measured with a span. God is a moral governor as well as a Father. He is the Lawgiver. He makes and executes His laws. Law that has no penalty is of no force.  {12MR 208.2}






A Sabbath-breaker – Numbers 15:22-36

On one occasion the son of an Israelitish woman and of an Egyptian, one of the mixed multitude that had come up with Israel from Egypt, LEFT HIS OWN PART OF THE CAMP, AND ENTERING THAT OF THE ISRAELITES, CLAIMED THE RIGHT TO PITCH HIS TENT THERE. THIS THE DIVINE LAW FORBADE him to do, the descendants of an Egyptian being excluded from the congregation until the third generation. A dispute arose between him and an Israelite, and the matter being referred to the judges was decided against the offender.  {PP 407.4}


ENRAGED AT THIS DECISION, HE CURSED THE JUDGE, AND IN THE HEAT OF PASSION BLASPHEMED THE NAME OF GOD. He was immediately brought before Moses. The command had been given, “He that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death” (Exodus 21:17); BUT NO PROVISION HAD BEEN MADE TO MEET THIS CASE [MEANING MEN COULD NOT EXECUTE THE JUDGMENT UNLESS BY DIVINE REVELATION]. So terrible was the crime that there was felt to be a necessity for SPECIAL DIRECTION FROM GOD. The man was placed in ward until the WILL OF THE LORD COULD BE ASCERTAINED. GOD HIMSELF PRONOUNCED THE SENTENCE; BY THE DIVINE DIRECTION THE BLASPHEMER WAS CONDUCTED OUTSIDE THE CAMP AND STONED TO DEATH. Those who had been witness to the sin placed their hands upon his head, thus solemnly testifying to the truth of the charge against him. Then they threw the first stones, and the people who stood by afterward joined in executing the sentence.  {PP 407.5}


Punishment of Jericho

THE CITY OF JERICHO WAS DEVOTED TO THE MOST EXTRAVAGANT IDOLATRY. The inhabitants were very wealthy, but all the riches that God had given them they counted as the gift of their gods. They had gold and silver in abundance; but, like the people before the Flood, they were corrupt and blasphemous, and insulted and provoked the God of heaven by their wicked works. God’s judgments were awakened against Jericho. It was a stronghold. BUT THE CAPTAIN OF THE LORD’S HOST HIMSELF CAME FROM HEAVEN TO LEAD THE ARMIES OF HEAVEN IN AN ATTACK UPON THE CITY. ANGELS OF GOD LAID HOLD OF THE MASSIVE WALLS AND BROUGHT THEM TO THE GROUND. God had said that the city of Jericho should be accursed and that all should perish except Rahab and her household. These should be saved because of the favor that Rahab showed the messengers of the Lord. The word of the Lord to the people was: “And ye, in anywise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.” “And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, CURSED BE THE MAN BEFORE THE LORD, THAT RISETH UP AND BUILDETH THIS CITY JERICHO: HE SHALL LAY THE FOUNDATION THEREOF IN HIS FIRST-BORN, AND IN HIS YOUNGEST SON SHALL HE SET UP THE GATES OF IT.”  {3T 264.1}


1Kings 16:34 In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest [son] Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun.


The Last Conflict of the Great Controversy

Another deception was now to be brought forward. SATAN DECLARED THAT MERCY DESTROYED JUSTICE, THAT THE DEATH OF CHRIST ABROGATED THE FATHER’S LAW. Had it been possible for the law to be changed or abrogated, then Christ need not have died. But to abrogate the law would be to immortalize transgression, and place the world under Satan’s control. It was because the law was changeless, because man could be saved only through obedience to its precepts, that Jesus was lifted up on the cross. YET THE VERY MEANS BY WHICH CHRIST ESTABLISHED THE LAW SATAN REPRESENTED AS DESTROYING IT. HERE WILL COME THE LAST CONFLICT OF THE GREAT CONTROVERSY BETWEEN CHRIST AND SATAN.  {DA 762.5}


The Seven Last Plagues and the Judgment

At the general conference of believers in the present truth, held at Sutton, Vermont, September, 1850, I was shown that the seven last plagues will be poured out after Jesus leaves the sanctuary. Said the angel, “IT IS THE WRATH OF GOD AND THE LAMB THAT CAUSES THE DESTRUCTION OR DEATH OF THE WICKED. At the voice of God the saints will be mighty and terrible as an army with banners, but they will not then execute the judgment written. The execution of the judgment will be at the close of the one thousand years.”  {EW 52.1}


After the saints are changed to immortality and caught up together with Jesus, after they receive their harps, their robes, and their crowns, and enter the city, Jesus and the saints sit in judgment. THE BOOKS ARE OPENED–THE BOOK OF LIFE AND THE BOOK OF DEATH. THE BOOK OF LIFE CONTAINS THE GOOD DEEDS OF THE SAINTS; AND THE BOOK OF DEATH CONTAINS THE EVIL DEEDS OF THE WICKED. THESE BOOKS ARE COMPARED WITH THE STATUTE BOOK, THE BIBLE, AND ACCORDING TO THAT MEN ARE JUDGED. THE SAINTS, IN UNISON WITH JESUS, PASS THEIR JUDGMENT UPON THE WICKED DEAD. “Behold ye,” said the angel, “the saints, in unison with Jesus, sit in judgment, and mete out to the wicked according to the deeds done in the body, and that which they must receive at the execution of the judgment is set off against their names.” This, I saw, was the work of the saints with Jesus through the one thousand years in the Holy City before it descends to the earth. Then at the close of the one thousand years, Jesus, with the angels and all the saints, leaves the Holy City, and while He is descending to the earth with them, the wicked dead are raised, and then the very men that “pierced Him,” being raised, will see Him afar off in all His glory, the angels and saints with Him, and will wail because of Him. They will see the prints of the nails in His hands and in His feet, and where they thrust the spear into His side. The prints of the nails and the spear will then be His glory. It is at the close of the one thousand years that Jesus stands upon the Mount of Olives, and the mount parts asunder and becomes a mighty plain. Those who flee at that time are the wicked, who have just been raised. Then the Holy City comes down and settles on the plain. Satan then imbues the wicked with his spirit. He flatters them that the army in the city is small, and that his army is large, and that they can overcome the saints and take the city.  {EW 52.2}


While Satan was rallying his army, the saints were in the city, beholding the beauty and glory of the Paradise of God. Jesus was at their head, leading them. All at once the lovely Saviour was gone from our company; but soon we heard His lovely voice, saying, “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” We gathered about Jesus, and just as He closed the gates of the city, the curse was pronounced upon the wicked. The gates were shut. Then the saints used their wings and mounted to the top of the wall of the city. Jesus was also with them; His crown looked brilliant and glorious. It was a crown within a crown, seven in number. The crowns of the saints were of the most pure gold, decked with stars. Their faces shone with glory, for they were in the express image of Jesus; and as they arose and moved all together to the top of the city, I was enraptured with the sight.  {EW 53.1}


THEN THE WICKED SAW WHAT THEY HAD LOST; AND FIRE WAS BREATHED FROM GOD UPON THEM AND CONSUMED THEM. THIS WAS THE EXECUTION OF THE JUDGMENT. The wicked then received according as the saints, in unison with Jesus, had meted out to them during the one thousand years. THE SAME FIRE FROM GOD THAT CONSUMED THE WICKED PURIFIED THE WHOLE EARTH. The broken, ragged mountains melted with fervent heat, the atmosphere also, and all the stubble was consumed. Then our inheritance opened before us, glorious and beautiful, and we inherited the whole earth made new. We all shouted with a loud voice, “Glory; Alleluia!”   {EW 54.1}


Jesus Came to Reveal God!

There is always an argument that Christ came to reveal God and what Christ did not do his Father cannot do. This is a special pleading that has no sense. Jesus did many things that his Father would not do and did not do many things that his Father would do. Jesus could die his father could not, Jesus could not reveal the day and hour of his second coming, the father would do. Jesus was baptized his father cannot etc. Jesus first coming was not to establish the Kingdom of Glory which has to be preceded with execution of Judgment. For executive judgment to happen, there must be an investigation judgment and this is what Christ came to do, investigate the sons of men. He came to establish the Kingdom of Grace. He came as a servant and not a ruler so to confuse the works and the two kingdoms is to confound the purpose of his first and second coming.


The Lord Jesus came to our world, NOT TO REVEAL WHAT A GOD COULD DO, BUT WHAT A MAN COULD DO, through faith in God’s power to help in every emergency. Man is, through faith, to be a partaker in the divine nature, and to overcome every temptation wherewith he is beset.  {7BC 929.6}




Our True Identity and the Last Church

In the early years after the 1844 experience, Sabbatarian Adventists identified themselves as the church of Philadelphia, other Adventists as Laodiceans, and non-Adventists as Sardis. However, by 1854 Ellen White was led to point out that “the remnant were not prepared for what is coming upon the earth. Stupidity, like lethargy, seemed to hang upon the minds of most of those who profess to believe that we are having the last message…. Ye suffer your minds to be diverted too readily from the work of preparation andthe all-important truths for these last days.”


By 1856 James White, Uriah Smith, and J. H. Waggoner were clearly telling the young Adventist groups that the Laodicean message applied to Sabbatarian Adventists as well as others who were “lukewarm” in their Christian experience. They, too, needed thorough repentance. Further, they combined in their conclusion that the third angel’s message was the final message to the “rebellious world,” and the Laodicean message was the final message to a “lukewarm church.” MOL 271.6 – MOL 272.2


Dealing with Health Fanaticism Fanatics

Ellen and James White participated in many dramatic healings within their own family. But they did not consider the use of natural remedies to indicate lack of faith. From her early years to her last, Mrs. White clearly warned against fanaticism: “We believe in the prayer of faith; but some have carried this matter too far …. Some have taken the strong ground that it was wrong to use simple remedies. We have never taken this position, but have opposed it. We believe it to be perfectly right to use the remedies God has placed in our reach, and if these fail, apply to the great Physician, and in some cases the counsel of an earthly physician is very necessary. This position we have always held.”


In 1854 she visited a “celebrated physician in Rochester” for a painful swelling on her left eyelid that was diagnosed as cancer. But the physician told her that she would die of apoplexy before the cancer would kill her! About a month later, after much trust and prayer, she suddenly was healed of both the cancerous eyelid and the oppressive heart condition that had made breathing difficult. MOL 280.2 – MOL 280.3


EGW on the Vaccines:

A branch was presented before me bearing LARGE FLAT SEEDS. Upon it was written, NUX VOMICA, STRYCHNINE. Beneath was written, NO ANTIDOTE. I was shown persons under the influence of this poison. It produced heat, and seemed to act particularly on the SPINAL COLUMN, BUT AFFECTED THE WHOLE SYSTEM. When this is taken in the smallest quantities, it has its influence, which nothing can counteract. If taken immoderately, CONVULSIONS, PARALYSIS, INSANITY, AND DEATH, ARE OFTEN THE RESULTS. MANY USE THIS DEADLY EVIL IN SMALL QUANTITIES. BUT IF THEY REALIZED ITS INFLUENCE, NOT ONE GRAIN OF IT WOULD BE INTRODUCED INTO THE SYSTEM. {4aSG 138.1}


When first taken, its influence may seem to be beneficial. It excites the nerves connected with the spinal column, but when the excitement passes away, it is followed by a sense of prostration and of chilliness the whole length of the spinal column, especially upon the head and back of the neck. The patients generally cannot endure the least draught of air. They are inclined to close every crevice, and for want of the free, invigorating air of heaven, THE BLOOD BECOMES IMPURE, THE VITAL ORGANS ARE WEAKENED, AND GENERAL DEBILITY IS THE RESULT. By unduly exciting the sensitive nerves connected with the spinal column, by this poisonous drug, they lose their tone and vitality, and weakness of the back and limbs follows. The sight and hearing are often affected, and in many cases the patient becomes helpless. {4aSG 138.2}


I was shown that the innocent, modest-looking, white poppy yields a dangerous drug. Opium is a slow poison, when taken in small quantities. In large doses it produces LETHARGY AND DEATH. Its effects upon the nervous system are ruinous. When patients use this DRUG UNTIL IT BECOMES HABIT, it is almost impossible to discontinue it, because they feel so PROSTRATED AND NERVOUS WITHOUT IT. They are in a worse condition when deprived of it than the rum-drinker without his rum, or the tobacco-user deprived of his tobacco. The opium slave is in a pitiful condition. Unless his nervous system is continually intoxicated with the poisonous drug, he is miserable. It benumbs the sensibilities, stupefies the brain, and unfits the mind for the service of God. True Christians cannot persist in the use of this slow poison, when they know its influence upon them. {4aSG 138.3}


Those who use opium cannot render to God any more acceptable service than can the drunkard, or the tobacco-user. Those who break off the use of this nerve and brain-destroying practice will have to possess fortitude, and suffer, as will the drunkard, and the tobacco slave, when deprived of their body and mind-destroying indulgences. God is displeased that his followers should become slaves to habits which ruin body and mind. NUX VOMICA, OR STRYCHNINE, AND OPIUM HAVE KILLED THEIR MILLIONS, AND HAVE LEFT THOUSANDS UPON THE EARTH TO LINGER OUT A WRETCHED, SUFFERING EXISTENCE, A BURDEN TO THEMSELVES, AND THOSE AROUND THEM. {4aSG 139.1}


MERCURY, CALOMEL, AND QUININE HAVE BROUGHT THEIR AMOUNT OF WRETCHEDNESS, WHICH THE DAY OF GOD ALONE WILL FULLY REVEAL. Preparations of mercury and calomel taken into the system ever retain their poisonous strength as long as there is a particle of it left in the system. These poisonous preparations have destroyed their millions, and left sufferers upon the earth to linger out a miserable existence. ALL ARE BETTER OFF WITHOUT THESE DANGEROUS MIXTURES. Miserable sufferers, with disease in almost every form, mis-shapen by suffering, with dreadful ulcers, and pains in the bones, loss of teeth, loss of memory, and impaired sight, are to be seen almost every where. They are victims of poisonous preparations, which have been, in many cases, administered to cure some slight indisposition, WHICH AFTER A DAY OR TWO OF FASTING WOULD HAVE DISAPPEARED WITHOUT MEDICINE. But poisonous mixtures, administered by physicians, have proved their ruin. {4aSG 139.2}


The endless variety of medicines in the market, the numerous advertisements of new drugs and mixtures, all of which, as they say, do wonderful cures, kill hundreds where they benefit one. Those who are sick are not patient. They will take the various medicines, some of which are very powerful, although they know nothing of the nature of the mixtures. All the medicines they take only make their recovery more hopeless. Yet they keep dosing, and continue to grow weaker, until they die. Some will have medicine at all events. THEN LET THEM TAKE THESE HURTFUL MIXTURES AND THE VARIOUS DEADLY POISONS UPON THEIR OWN RESPONSIBILITY. God’s servants should not administer medicines which they know will leave behind injurious effects upon the system, even if they do relieve present suffering. {4aSG 139.3}


EGW and A Doctor’s Prescription

IN THE WINTER AND SPRING I SUFFERED MUCH WITH HEART DISEASE. It was difficult for me to breathe lying down, and I could not sleep unless raised in nearly a sitting posture. My breath often stopped, and fainting fits were frequent. But this was not all my trouble. I HAD UPON MY LEFT EYE-LID A SWELLING WHICH APPEARED TO BE A CANCER. IT HAD BEEN MORE THAN A YEAR INCREASING GRADUALLY, UNTIL IT WAS QUITE PAINFUL AND AFFECTED MY SIGHT. In reading or writing I was forced to bandage the afflicted eye. And I was constantly afflicted with the thought that my eye might be destroyed with a cancer. I looked back to the days and nights spent in reading proof-sheets, which had strained my eyes, and thought if I lose my eye, and my life, it will be a martyr to the cause. {2SG 184.2}


A CELEBRATED PHYSICIAN VISITED ROCHESTER WHO GAVE COUNSEL FREE. I DECIDED TO HAVE HIM EXAMINE MY EYE. HE THOUGHT THE SWELLING WOULD PROVE TO BE A CANCER. He felt my pulse, and said, “You are much diseased, and will die of apoplexy before that swelling will break out [apoplexy is unconsciousness or incapacity resulting from a cerebral haemorrhage or stroke]. You are in a dangerous condition with disease of the heart.” THIS DID NOT STARTLE ME, for I had been aware that unless I received speedy relief I must lie in the grave. Two other females had come for counsel who were suffering with the same disease. The physician said that I was in a more dangerous condition than either of them, and it could not be more than three weeks before I would be afflicted with PARALYSIS, AND NEXT WOULD FOLLOW APOPLEXY. I INQUIRED IF HE THOUGHT HIS MEDICINE WOULD CURE ME. HE DID NOT GIVE ME MUCH ENCOURAGEMENT. I PURCHASED SOME OF HIS MEDICINE. THE EYEWASH WAS VERY PAINFUL, AND I RECEIVED NO BENEFIT FROM IT. I WAS UNABLE TO USE THE REMEDIES THE PHYSICIAN PRESCRIBED. {2SG 185.1}


IN ABOUT THREE WEEKS I FAINTED AND FELL TO THE FLOOR, AND REMAINED UNCONSCIOUS ABOUT THIRTY-SIX HOURS. IT WAS FEARED THAT I COULD NOT LIVE; BUT IN ANSWER TO PRAYER AGAIN I REVIVED. One week later, WHILE CONVERSING WITH SISTER ANNA, I RECEIVED A SHOCK UPON MY LEFT SIDE. My head was numb, I had a strange sensation of coldness and numbness in my head, with pressure, and severe pain through my temples. My tongue seemed heavy and numb. I could not speak plainly. My left arm and side were helpless. I thought I was dying, and my great anxiety was to have the evidence amid my suffering that the Lord loved me. {2SG 185.2}


For months I had suffered such constant pain in my heart that I did not have one joyful feeling, but my spirits were constantly depressed. I had tried to serve God from principle, without feeling, but I now thirsted for the salvation of God, to realize his blessing, notwithstanding the pain in my heart. The brethren and sisters came together to make my case a special subject of prayer. My desire was granted. Prayer was heard, and I received the blessing of God, and had the assurance that he loved me. But the pain continued, and I grew more feeble every hour. The brethren and sisters again came together to present my case to the Lord. I was then so weak that I could not pray vocally. MY APPEARANCE SEEMED TO WEAKEN THE FAITH OF THOSE AROUND ME. Then the promises of God were arrayed before me as I had never viewed them before. It seemed to me that Satan was striving to tear me from my husband and children, and lay me in the grave, and these questions were suggested to my mind, Can you believe the naked promises of God? Can ye walk out by faith, let the appearances be what they may? FAITH REVIVED. I WHISPERED TO MY HUSBAND, I BELIEVE THAT I SHALL RECOVER. He answered, “I wish I could believe it.” I retired that night without relief, yet relying with firm confidence upon the promises of God. I could not sleep, but continued my silent prayer to God. Just before day I slept. As I awoke, the sun was seen from my window, arising in the east. I WAS PERFECTLY FREE FROM PAIN. The pressure and weight upon my heart was gone, and I was very happy. I was filled with gratitude. The praise of God was upon my lips. O what a change! It seemed to me that an angel of God had touched me while I was sleeping. I awoke my husband and related to him the wonderful work that the Lord had wrought for me. He could scarcely comprehend it at first. But when I arose and dressed, and walked around the house, and he witnessed the change in my countenance, he could praise God with me. MY AFFLICTED EYE WAS FREE FROM PAIN. IN A FEW DAYS I LOOKED IN THE GLASS, THE CANCER WAS GONE, AND MY EYESIGHT WAS FULLY RESTORED. THE WORK WAS COMPLETE. {2SG 186.1}


AGAIN I VISITED THE PHYSICIAN, AND AS SOON AS HE FELT MY PULSE HE SAID, “Madam, you are better. An entire change has taken place in your system; BUT THE TWO WOMEN WHO VISITED ME FOR COUNSEL WHEN YOU WERE LAST HERE ARE DEAD.” I TOLD HIM IT WAS NOT HIS MEDICINE THAT HAD CURED ME, FOR I COULD USE NONE OF IT. And as I was about to relate the wonderful dealings of the Lord with me, A POOR LABORER RUSHED INTO THE ROOM, almost beside himself, saying, “Doctor, they say I must die! that I am in consumption!” Large drops of sweat stood upon his brow. The physician tried to calm his excited mind while he examined his lungs. He waited his examination with intense anxiety. THE PHYSICIAN SHOOK HIS HEAD, AND TOLD HIM HE COULD NOT DECEIVE HIM; THAT HE HAD THE QUICK CONSUMPTION, AND MUST SOON DIE. HIS FEELINGS OVERCAME HIM, AND HE BURST INTO TEARS. HE HAD NO HOPE IN GOD, AND THE FUTURE TO HIM WAS A FEARFUL UNCERTAINTY. I WAS OBLIGED TO LEAVE. Sister P., who now rests in the grave, had accompanied me, and related to the physician after I left, that the Lord had heard prayer for me, and restored me to health. Said he, “Her case is a mystery. I do not understand it.” {2SG 187.1}



In 1854, at a time when modern conveniences were not even thought of, she called for cleanliness among those professing Christianity: “I saw that the houses of the saints should be kept tidy and neat, free from dirt and filth and all uncleanness.” Turning to maintaining health, especially in dietary matters, she wrote that we must “take special care of the health that God has given us…. Deny the unhealthy appetite, eat less fine food, eat coarse food free from grease. Then as you sit at the table to eat you can from the heart ask God’s blessing upon the food and can derive strength from coarse, wholesome food MOL 281.4


The home must be kept pure and clean. Unclean, neglected corners in the house will tend to make impure, neglected corners in the soul. Mothers, you are the educators of your children, and you can do a great deal if you begin early to inculcate pure thoughts, by fitting up their rooms in a cleanly, tasteful, attractive manner. CG 114.1


  • I then saw a lack of cleanliness among Sabbath-keepers. I saw that God would have a clean and holy people, a people that He can delight in. I saw that the camp must be cleansed or the Lord would pass by and see the uncleanness of the children of Israel and would not go forth with their armies to battle, but would turn from them in displeasure and our enemies would triumph over us, and we left weak in shame and disgrace. I saw that God would not acknowledge an untidy and unclean person as a Christian. His frown was upon such. Our souls, bodies, and spirits are to be presented blameless by Jesus to His Father, and unless we are clean in person and pure in heart, we cannot be presented blameless to God. I saw that the houses of the saints should be kept tidy and neat from dirt and filth and all uncleanness. I saw that the house of God had been desecrated by the carelessness of parents, with their children, and by the untidiness and uncleanness there. I saw that these things should meet with an open rebuke, and if there was not a change immediately in some that profess the truth, in these things, they should be put out of the camp. 6MR 217.3


The 33 Principles of the Otsego Health Vision in June 6, 1863:

  1. Those who do not control their appetite in eating are guilty of intemperance.
  2. Swine’s flesh is not to be eaten under any circumstance.
  3. Tobacco in any form is a slow poison.
  4. Strict cleanliness of the body and home premises is important.
  5. Tea and coffee, similar to tobacco, are slow poisons.
  6. Rich cake, pies, and puddings are injurious.
  7. Eating between meals injures the stomach and digestive process.
  8. Adequate time must be allowed between meals, giving the stomach time to rest.
  9. If a third meal is taken, it should be light and several hours before bedtime.
  10. People used to meat, gravies, and pastries do not immediately relish a plain, wholesome diet.
  11. Gluttonous appetite contributes to indulgence of corrupt passions.
  12. Turning to a plain, nutritious diet may overcome the physical damage caused by a wrong diet.
  13. Reforms in eating will save expense and labor.
  14. Children eating flesh meat and spicy foods have strong tendencies toward sexual indulgences.
  15. Poisonous drugs used as medical prescriptions kill more people than all other causes of death combined.
  16. Pure water should be used freely in maintaining health and curing illnesses.
  17. Nature alone has curative powers.
  18. Common medicines, such as strychnine, opium, calomel, mercury, and quinine, are poisons.
  19. Parents transmit their weaknesses to their children; prenatal influences are enormous.
  20. Obeying the laws of health will prevent many illnesses.
  21. God is too often blamed for deaths caused by violation of nature’s laws.
  22. Light and pure air are required, especially in the sleeping quarters.
  23. Bathing, even a sponge bath, will be beneficial on rising in the morning.
  24. God will not work healing miracles for those who continually violate the laws of health.
  25. Many invalids have no physical cause for their illness; they have a diseased imagination.
  26. Cheerful, physical labor will help to create a healthy, cheerful disposition.
  27. Willpower has much to do with resisting disease and soothing nerves.
  28. Outdoor exercise is very important to health of mind and body.
  29. Overwork breaks down both mind and body; routine daily rest is necessary.
  30. Many die of disease caused wholly by eating flesh food.
  31. Caring for health is a spiritual matter, reflecting a person’s commitment to God.
  32. A healthy mind and body directly affects one’s morals and one’s ability to discern truth.
  33. All God’s promises are given on condition of obedience.

MOL 283.6 – MOL 284.25


In the Days of Ignorance

When J. N. Loughborough was 16, his uncle introduced him to “Graham bread” and a certain kind of hydrotherapy that consisted of bathing in ice-cold water followed by vigorous exercise. His lungs were hemorrhaging and the remedy advised was to smoke tobacco! Writing about the incident years later, Loughborough added: “This resort to cigar smoking shows how vague were our ideas of healthful living.” MOL 289.3




The Crawling Third Angel’s Message

Ellen White consistently linked the health emphasis with the “third angel’s message” as close as the “hand is with the body.” That is to say, the health message constituted a very important aspect of the “everlasting gospel” (Revelation 14:6). MOL 291.15 – MOL 292.1


Ellen White was instructed (and her own experience validated the principle) that health reform is to be the bridge over which the gospel will meet people where they are. She called the health message a “great entering wedge … the door through which the truth for this time is to find entrance to many homes … It will do much toward removing prejudice against our evangelical work.”


Specifically, in regard to Adventist healthcare institutions, she wrote: “The great object of receiving unbelievers into the institution the sanitarium is to lead them to embrace the truth.” MOL 292.3 – MOL 292.4


The Adventist emphasis on health was to help “fit a people for the coming of the Lord.” “He who cherishes the light which God has given upon health reform, has an important aid in the work of becoming sanctified through the truth, and fitted for immortality.” MOL 292.5


Some made the health message an end in itself in developing a worldwide network of hospitals and clinics; others made the health message into a compelling public relations stratagem whereby non-Adventists would become interested enough to sit through an evangelistic sermon. Both were worthy uses of Adventist health principles—but short of the primary purpose that made Ellen White’s health emphasis distinctive. The primary purpose was to join the spiritual and the physical on the practical, daily level of the average person. MOL 292.6


Ellen White wrote in 1867: “God’s people are not prepared for the loud cry of the third angel. They have a work to do for themselves which they should not leave for God to do for them…. Lustful appetite makes slaves of men and women, and beclouds their intellects and stupefies their moral sensibilities to such a degree that the sacred, elevated truths of God’s Word are not appreciated…. In order to be fitted for translation, the people of God must know themselves…. They should ever have the appetite in subjection to the moral and intellectual organs.” MOL 292.10 – MOL 293.1


  • Adventist leaders such as J. H. Waggoner saw the distinctive difference between contemporary voices appealing for health reform and the “advanced principle” of Ellen White. Waggoner wrote: “We do not profess to be pioneers in the general principles of the health reform. The facts on which this movement is based have been elaborated, in a great measure, by reformers, physicians, and writers on physiology and hygiene, and so may be found scattered through the land. But we do claim that by the method of God’s choice it has been more clearly and powerfully unfolded, and is thereby producing an effect which we could not have looked for from any other means.


“As mere physiological and hygienic truths, they might be studied by some at their leisure, and by others laid aside as of little consequence; but when placed on a level with the great truths of the third angel’s message by the sanction and authority of God’s Spirit, and so declared to be the means whereby a weak people may be made strong to overcome, and our diseased bodies cleansed and fitted for translation, then it comes to us as an essential part of present truth, to be received with the blessing of God, or rejected at our peril.” MOL 293.3 – MOL 293.4


God’s purpose in giving the third angel’s message to the world is to prepare a people to stand true to Him during the investigative judgment. This is the purpose for which we establish and maintain our publishing houses, our schools, our sanitariums, hygienic restaurants, treatment rooms, and food factories. This is our purpose in carrying forward every line of work in the cause.—Manuscript 154, 1902, 4. (“Instruction to Men in Positions of Responsibility,” October 24, 1902.) 1MR 228.2


What God has enjoined let no man separate. The body has lost an arm and have an open wound yet the wound is expected to be healed without the arm being brought back. The amputation of medical missionary department from Adventist church is not something to be taken lightly. God hates divorce and patching up of things. He will never excuse or accept Adventist church in this gross misconduct. These camp meetings we hold around the world while indulging in appetite are an abomination to God and can thus be summed in Isaiah 22:13 And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die. Herbert Douglass reasons out:


  • Ellen White called this separation between gospel ministers and medical missionary workers “the worst evil” that could be placed on the Adventist Church. MOL 295.4


  • Trying to promote the distinctive message of Revelation 14 with the right arm paralyzed is virtually self-defeating. MOL 295.6


For example, when the sick are encouraged to receive health care without adherence to the natural laws that caused the sickness, the gospel is not understood. Or, when the sinner is encouraged to believe that God forgives when commitment to known duty is ignored, clearly the gospel is misrepresented. MOL 295.7


Ellen White boldly encouraged church members who sense “the dead level into which they have fallen” to reconnect the health message to the theological message: “Send into the churches workers who will set the principles of health reform in their connection with the third angel’s message before every family and individual. Encourage all to take a part in work for their fellow men, and see if the breath of life will not quickly return to these churches.” MOL 295.8 – MOL 296.1


It naturally follows, then, that the physician and the minister are to “work in tandem. Like harnessed horses, they … are to pull the Adventist carriage at the same speed.” MOL 296.2


My brethren, the Lord calls for unity, for oneness. We are to be one in the faith. I want to tell you that when the gospel ministers and the medical missionary workers are not united, there is placed on our churches the worst evil that can be placed there. MOL 296.7


The challenge ever since 1904 has been to address “the worst evil” that could rest on the Seventh-day Adventist Church. If the challenge is to be met, both ministers and physicians must restudy the counsel of Ellen White regarding the purpose of church healthcare institutions, rethink the purpose of the “everlasting gospel” that must be proclaimed credibly before Jesus returns, and make a new commitment to the inspired principles set forth by Ellen White. MOL 296.8


  • Any movement then professing to be a movement of destiny working under the inspiration yet do not understand or practice the third angel’s message in Isaiah 58 and James 1:27 in connection with Revelation 14 should come to terms that it’s a spurious movement. It’s like Laodicea professing to be Philadelphia.


Intemperance in Working – Case Study of James White

Would that every child of God might be impressed with the necessity of being temperate in his eating, dressing, and WORKING, that he may do the best work for the cause of God. When the laborer has been under a pressure of work and care, and is overworked in mind and body, he should turn aside and rest awhile, not for selfish gratification, but that he may be better prepared for future duties. WE HAVE A VIGILANT FOE, WHO IS EVER UPON OUR TRACK, TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EVERY WEAKNESS, THAT HE MAY MAKE HIS TEMPTATIONS EFFECTIVE FOR EVIL. When the mind is overstrained and the body enfeebled, he can take advantage, and press the soul with his fiercest temptations, that he may cause the downfall of the child of God. Let the laborer for God carefully husband his strength; and when wearied with toil that must come upon him, let him turn aside and rest and commune with Jesus.–Review and Herald, Nov. 14, 1893. {ChS 247.4}




Our God is ever merciful, full of compassion, and reasonable in all His requirements. He does not require that we shall pursue a course of action that will result in the loss of our health or the enfeeblement of our powers of mind. HE WOULD NOT HAVE US WORK UNDER A PRESSURE AND STRAIN UNTIL EXHAUSTION FOLLOWS, AND PROSTRATION OF THE NERVES. The Lord has given us reason, and He expects that we shall exercise reason, and act in harmony with the laws of life implanted within us, obeying them that we may have a well-balanced organization. Day follows day, and each day brings its responsibilities and duties, but the work of tomorrow must not be crowded into today. The workers in the cause of God should feel how sacred is its character, and they should prepare themselves for tomorrow’s work by a judicious employment of their powers today.–Review and Herald, Nov. 7, 1893. {ChS 248.2}


  • As a rule, the labor of the day should not be prolonged into the evening. I have been shown that those who do this often lose much more than they gain, for their energies are exhausted, and they labor on nervous excitement. They may not realize any immediate injury, but they are surely undermining their constitution. {CG 397.2}


  • Those who make great exertions to accomplish just so much work in a given time, and continue to labor when their judgment tells them they should rest, are never gainers. They are living on borrowed capital. They are expending the vital force which they will need at a future time. And when the energy they have so recklessly used is demanded, they fail for want of it. The physical strength is gone, the mental powers fail. They realize that they have met with a loss, but do not know what it is. Their time of need has come, but their physical resources are exhausted. Everyone who violates the laws of health must sometime be a sufferer to a greater or less degree. God has provided us with constitutional force, which will be needed at different periods of our lives. If we recklessly exhaust this force by continual overtaxation, we shall sometime be the losers. {CG 397.3}


  • “In my relations to this cause I have been longest and most closely connected with the publishing work. Three times have I fallen, stricken with paralysis, through my devotion to this branch of the cause. Now that God has given me renewed physical and mental strength, I feel that I can serve His cause as I have never been able to serve it before. I must see the publishing work prosper. It is interwoven with my very existence. If I forget the interests of this work, let my right hand forget her cunning.” {1T 107.1}


We had an appointment to attend a tent meeting at Charlotte, Sabbath and Sunday, July 23 and 24. As I was in feeble health, we decided to travel by private conveyance. On the way, my husband seemed cheerful, yet a feeling of solemnity rested upon him. He repeatedly praised the Lord for mercies and blessings received, and freely expressed his own feelings concerning the past and future: “The Lord is good, and greatly to be praised. He is a present help in time of need. The future seems cloudy and uncertain, but the Lord would not have us distressed over these things. When trouble comes, He will give us grace to endure it. What the Lord has been to us, and what He has done for us, should make us so grateful that we would never murmur or complain. Our labors, burdens, and sacrifices will never be fully appreciated by all. I see that I have lost my peace of mind and the blessing of God by permitting myself to be troubled by these things. {1T 107.2}


“It has seemed hard to me that my motives should be misjudged, and that my best efforts to help, encourage, and strengthen my brethren should again and again be turned against me. But I should have remembered Jesus and His disappointments. His soul was grieved that He was not appreciated by those He came to bless. I should have dwelt upon the mercy and loving-kindness of God, praising Him more, and complaining less of the ingratitude of my brethren. Had I ever left all my perplexities with the Lord, thinking less of what others said and did against me, I should have had more peace and joy. I will now seek first to guard myself that I offend not in word or deed, and then to help my brethren make straight paths for their feet. I will not stop to mourn over any wrong done to me. I have expected more of men than I ought. I love God and His work, and I love my brethren also.” {1T 108.1}


Little did I think, as we traveled on, that this was the last journey we would ever make together. The weather changed suddenly from oppressive heat to chilling cold. My husband took cold, but thought his health so good that he would receive no permanent injury. He labored in the meetings at Charlotte, presenting the truth with great clearness and power. He spoke of the pleasure he felt in addressing a people who manifested so deep an interest in the subjects most dear to him. “The Lord has indeed refreshed my soul,” he said, “while I have been breaking to others the bread of life. All over Michigan the people are calling eagerly for help. How I long to comfort, encourage, and strengthen them with the precious truths applicable to this time!” {1T 108.2}


  • For years previous to my husband’s dangerous and protracted illness he performed more labor than two men should have done in the same time. He saw no time when he could be relieved from the pressure of care and obtain mental and physical rest. Through the testimonies he was warned of his danger. I was shown that he was doing too much brain labor. I will here copy a written testimony, given as far back as August 26, 1855: {3T 9.2}


Notwithstanding the labors, cares, and responsibilities with which my husband’s life had been crowded, his sixtieth year found him active and vigorous in mind and body. Three times had he fallen under a stroke of paralysis; yet by the blessing of God, a naturally strong constitution, and strict attention to the laws of health, he had been enabled to rally. Again he traveled, preached, and wrote with his wonted zeal and energy. Side by side we had labored in the cause of Christ for thirty-six years; and we hoped that we might stand together to witness the triumphant close. But such was not the will of God. The chosen protector of my youth, the companion of my life, the sharer of my labors and afflictions, has been taken from my side, and I am left to finish my work and to fight the battle alone. {1T 105.3}


  • The spring and early summer of 1881 we spent together at our home in Battle Creek. My husband hoped to arrange his business so that we could go to the Pacific Coast and devote ourselves to writing. He felt that we had made a mistake in allowing the apparent wants of the cause and the entreaties of our brethren to urge us into active labor in preaching when we should have been writing. My husband desired to present more fully the glorious subject of redemption, and I had long contemplated the preparation of important books. We both felt that while our mental powers were unimpaired we should complete these works—that it was a duty which we owed to ourselves and to the cause of God to rest from the heat of battle, and give to our people the precious light of truth which God had opened to our minds. {1T 106.1}


Some weeks before the death of my husband, I urged upon him the importance of seeking a field of labor where we would be released from the burdens necessarily coming upon us at Battle Creek. In reply he spoke of various matters which required attention before we could leave—duties which someone must do. Then with deep feeling he inquired: “Where are the men to do this work? Where are those who will have an unselfish interest in our institutions, and who will stand for the right, unaffected by any influence with which they may come in contact?” {1T 106.2}


With tears he expressed his anxiety for our institutions at Battle Creek. Said he: “My life has been given to the up-building of these institutions. It seems like death to leave them. They are as my children, and I cannot separate my interest from them. These institutions are the Lord’s instrumentalities to do a specific work. Satan seeks to hinder and defeat every means by which the Lord is working for the salvation of men. If the great adversary can mold these institutions according to the world’s standard, his object is gained. It is my greatest anxiety to have the right man in the right place. If those who stand in responsible positions are weak in moral power, and vacillating in principle, inclined to lead toward the world, there are enough who will be led. Evil influences must not prevail. I would rather die than live to see these institutions mismanaged, or turned aside from the purpose for which they were brought into existence. {1T 106.3}


  • James White since 1844 had been doing the work of several men. By the time he was 44 he was worn out. He had carried the burden of financial accountability when others were slow to contribute; he had almost single-handedly led a “scattered flock” into becoming an organized church with doctrinal unity and a common goal; his pen had become a remarkable expositor of clear gospel teachings; and he was a constant source of encouragement and vision for others. But he did not know how to rest, nor was he temperate in his eating habits.


On August 16, 1865, he suffered his first stroke after a week of unusual stress and little sleep. He was mentally and physically exhausted, virtually incapacitated. Realizing that emergency procedures were needed when he failed to respond to home rest, Ellen White remembered that her health reform principles included a special emphasis on hydrotherapy. But she did not know how this principle would work out in practice, especially for such a serious problem as her husband’s. So, in late September, 1865, she took James to “Our Home,” a health institution at Dansville, New York, that emphasized hydropathic treatments and other medical practices that involved natural methods rather than conventional drug therapy.



  • Why do not our physicians see and understand that patients should be treated out of and away from the cities? And not the patients only, but physicians and nurses need a cheerful, sunshiny atmosphere. Is it surprising that under gloomy surroundings, workers should be down-hearted and depressed, leading unbelievers to think that their religion makes them gloomy? Let there be light and love and cheerful song in the place of gloom, and what a change would take place? {SpM 258.2}


In reflecting on this decision, especially when some church members thought they were not truly trusting James to God in prayer, Ellen White wrote: “While we did not feel like despising the means God had placed in our reach for the recovery of health, we felt that God was above all, and He who had provided water as His agent would have us use it to assist abused Nature to recover her exhausted energies. We believed that God would bless the efforts we were making in the direction of health.


“We did not doubt that God could work a miracle, and in a moment restore to health and vigor. But should He do this, would we not be in danger of again transgressing—abusing our strength by prolonged, intemperate labor, and bringing upon ourselves even a worse condition of things?” MOL 301.2 – MOL 301.5


  • Overheated lecture halls seriously affected James’s head. Fresh air was needed at all times for clear thinking as well as for physical comfort. MOL 302.3


While experiencing severe mood swings and sinking hope, many prayer sessions through the days and nights provided James with the peace of mind that led to sleep. MOL 302.4


While in family worship Christmas day, December 25, 1865, Ellen White was taken off in vision. This vision ranks with the Otsego vision of June 6, 1863, in unfolding the significance of health reform within the third angel’s message.


The Otsego vision opened up the integrated system of health principles that the Lord wanted the Adventist Church to adopt. The Rochester vision emphasized how feeble had been the response of most church members and gave even more explicit information as to how the church was to coordinate health reform with the gospel message. Ellen White wrote out the vision the next day and gave the document to James. For months they had been wondering why they had seen no progress in his recovery. They now knew why and what they must do about it. MOL 302.8 – MOL 302.9


James had let fear and anxiety overwhelm his faith and that, by the power of his will and trusting in God’s power, he would regain his health. MOL 303.5


The sick are to be taught that “it is wrong to suspend all physical labor in order to regain health.” MOL 303.13


Someone may as why am I sharing this, because we are repeating same mistakes.


Every home to be a Medical Missionary Centre

The Lord gave me great light on health reform. In connection with my husband, I was to be a medical missionary worker. I was to set an example to the church by taking the sick to my home and caring for them. This I have done, giving the women and children vigorous treatment. I was also to speak on the subject of Christian temperance, as the Lord’s appointed messenger. I engaged heartily in this work, and spoke to large assemblies on temperance in its broadest and truest sense. {1SM 33.2}


I was instructed that I must ever urge upon those who profess to believe the truth, the necessity of practicing the truth. This means sanctification, and sanctification means the culture and training of every capability for the Lord’s service. {1SM 33.3}


I was charged not to neglect or pass by those who were being wronged. I was specially charged to protest against any arbitrary or overbearing action toward the ministers of the gospel by those having official authority. Disagreeable though the duty may be, I am to reprove the oppressor, and plead for justice. I am to present the necessity of maintaining justice and equity in all our institutions. {1SM 33.4}


If I see those in positions of trust neglecting aged ministers, I am to present the matter to those whose duty it is to care for them. Ministers who have faithfully done their work are not to be forgotten or neglected when they have become feeble in health. Our conferences are not to disregard the needs of those who have borne the burdens of the work. It was after John had grown old in the service of the Lord that he was exiled to Patmos. And on that lonely isle he received more communications from heaven than he had received during the rest of his lifetime. {1SM 33.5}


After my marriage I was instructed that I must show a special interest in motherless and fatherless children, taking some under my own charge for a time, and then finding homes for them. Thus I would be giving others an example of what they could do. {1SM 34.1}


Although called to travel often, and having much writing to do, I have taken children of three and five years of age, and have cared for them, educated them, and trained them for responsible positions. I have taken into my home from time to time boys from ten to sixteen years of age, giving them motherly care, and a training for service. I have felt it my duty to bring before our people that work for which those in every church should feel a responsibility. {1SM 34.2}


While in Australia I carried on this same line of work, taking into my home orphan children, who were in danger of being exposed to temptations that might cause the loss of their souls. {1SM 34.3}


In Australia we [REFERENCE HERE IS TO HER ASSOCIATE WORKERS. JAMES WHITE DIED IN 1881.] also worked as Christian medical missionaries. At times I made my home in Cooranbong an asylum for the sick and afflicted. My secretary, who had received a training in the Battle Creek Sanitarium, stood by my side, and did the work of a missionary nurse. No charge was made for her services, and we won the confidence of the people by the interest that we manifested in the sick and suffering. After a time the Health Retreat at Cooranbong was built, and then we were relieved of this burden. {1SM 34.4}


Health Reform

One of the problems that had developed in Battle Creek was the extremism fostered by Dr. Russell T. Trall and advocated by William Gage, resident editor of the Health Reformer. Dr. Trall advocated absolute discontinuance of salt, sugar, milk, butter, and eggs. This extremism caused confusion and a loss of subscriptions. When Ellen White returned from her west-coast camp meeting assignments, she saw why the Health Reformer was about dead: “The position to entirely discontinue the use of these things salt, sugar, milk, butter, and eggs may be right in its order; but the time had not come to take a general stand upon these points.”


  • Worse! The editor of the Health Reformer was ill. Why? Because he and those who were supporting these extreme positions for that time were not following a balanced program in their own homes! The confusion and subsequent despair among church members in their attempts to meet these extreme positions opened the door to much backsliding in the whole area of health reform. So Ellen White set forth several points for her fellow church members to consider: Meet people “where they are.”


Allow others “as much time as we have required” to reach our present understanding. We must not “advocate positions” that are not put to “a practical test” in our own homes. MOL 305


One man, “aided by items gathered from books,” had demanded that his family come up immediately to his “high” standards, but in so doing he “failed to bring himself to the mark, and to keep his body under.”


  • His marital relations were more like the unleashing of “animal propensities” than those of a considerate husband. His wife was not in a condition to give birth “to healthy children.” Why? Because “he did not provide the quality and quantity of food that was necessary to nourish two lives instead of one.” Her children were born with “feeble digestive powers and impoverished blood.” MOL 306.4 – MOL 306.5


  • “Her system craved material to convert into blood; but he would not provide it. A moderate amount of milk and sugar, a little salt, white bread raised with yeast for a change, graham flour prepared in a variety of ways by other hands than her own, plain cake with raisins, occasionally, and many other dishes I might mention, would have answered the demand of appetite. If he could not obtain some of these things, a little domestic wine for medicinal purposes would have done her no injury; it would have been better for her to have it than to do without it. In some cases, even a small amount of the least hurtful meat would do less injury than to suffer strong cravings for it.”


  • Ellen White then turned to another family who had lost a loved one because of a physician guilty of “maltreatment” under the guise of health reform. Apparently a young man had died after a severe fever. After recognizing that “abstinence from food for a short time will lessen the fever,” she noted that when the fever is broken, “nourishment should be given in a careful, judicious manner.”


  • However, each person should be treated on an individual basis. “If there is a great desire expressed for food, even during the fever, to gratify that desire with a moderate amount of simple food would be less injurious than for the patient to be denied.”


  • In the case of this young man, Ellen White specifically pointed to mismanagement that led to his unnecessary death: “A little good wine and food would have brought him back to his family.” The father also would have died if it had not been for the “presence and timely counsel of a doctor from the Health Institute.” Doing the best possible under the circumstances was a basic health principle with Ellen White. MOL 306.6 – MOL 306.8


“A free use” of items such as salt, sugar, and milk is “positively injurious to health” and “if they were not used at all, a much better state of health would be enjoyed. “But, for the present, “our burden is not upon these things salt, sugar, milk, butter.”


Because so many people were so far behind on health reform, they were advised to “bear positive testimony against” the most “injurious indulgences and stimulating narcotics … such as tobacco, spirituous liquors, snuff, tea, coffee, flesh meats, butter, spices, rich cakes, mince pies, a large amount of salt, and all exciting substances used as articles of food.” MOL 305.


  • Another says, “Sister White drinks tea, and we can drink tea.” Who of my brethren has made that statement? Who has ever heard it of me? I never have tea in my home or set it before anyone. Now I have not eaten any meat for years and years. SpM 169.2


Whatever may have been the practices or understanding of our pioneers on this question, we should never base our own decisions concerning healthful living on the example of other human beings. Mrs. White made this point clearly enough herself in 1901 during an extemporaneous talk in Battle Creek:


  • Ellen G. White speaking: “Sister White has not had meat in her house or cooked it in any line, or any dead flesh, for years and years. And here is the basis of some people’s health reform: ‘Now I have told you Sister White did not eat meat. Now I want you not to eat meat, because Sister White does not eat it.’ Well, I would not give—I would not care a farthing for anything like that. If you have not got any better conviction—you won’t eat meat because Sister White does not eat any—if I am the authority, I would not give a farthing for your health reform. What I want is that every one of you should stand in your individual dignity before God, in your individual consecration to God, that the soul-temple shall be dedicated to God. ‘Whosoever defileth the temple of God, him will God destroy.’ Now I want you to think of these things, and do not make any human being your criterion.” MR852 3.4 – MR852 3.5


How to Implement Health Reform

Ellen White had five visions on health and I challenge everyone to be acquainted with them and the particulars of these visions. Some matters have been said on the health reforms that is a zeal without knowledge. During this Day of Atonement, am not an advocate of flesh eating because the only blood shed on that day was for atoning the sins of Israel, the flesh was burnt and the skin buried by the priests. We are a nation of priesthood and what they did on that day was a great symbolical lesson. I must again say boldly that EGW was not given all truth and she grew in truth albeit God used her on enough truth we need for our salvation but she admitted there will be advancing light hence we will not be excused for what they did not do but we are supposed to do. On the matters of health reform, we have to continue advancing and seeking divine wisdom. The following history of the visions, her practice and the pioneers shows that they were not a finished product nonetheless they had advanced but we have backslidden seriously. History testifies:


The first two visions in 1848 and 1854 emphasized the injurious effects of tobacco, coffee, and tea. In the second vision such health-related issues as lack of bodily cleanliness, and the need for appetite control were noted.


In the third vision Ellen White stated that in 1863 “the Lord presented a general plan before me,” including the concept that caring for one’s health is a spiritual duty. Six months later she wrote: “Our plain food, eaten twice a day, is enjoyed with a keen relish. We have no meat, cake, or any rich food upon our table. Weuse no lard, but in its place, milk, cream, and some butter. We have our food prepared with but little salt, and have dispensed with spices of all kinds. We breakfast at seven, and take our dinner at one…. My food is eaten with a greater relish than ever before.” MOL 311.12 – MOL 312.1


The fourth, while in family worship Christmas day, December 25, 1865, Ellen White was taken off in vision. This vision ranks with the Otsego vision of June 6, 1863, in unfolding the significance of health reform within the third angel’s message.The Otsego vision opened up the integrated system of health principles that the Lord wanted the Adventist Church to adopt. The Rochester vision emphasized how feeble had been the response of most church members and gave even more explicit information as to how the church was to coordinate health reform with the gospel message. Ellen White wrote out the vision the next day and gave the document to James. For months they had been wondering why they had seen no progress in his recovery. They now knew why and what they must do about it. MOL 302.8 – MOL 302.9


The fifth of the health vision series occurred in Bordoville, Vermont, on December 10, 1871. Visions were not given frivolously or merely to repeat the message of previous visions. God dispenses wisdom as fast as men and women can appreciate it, especially after they have obeyed known duty. Prophets also learn step by step, even as church groups advance step by step in joining divine instruction with practice. MOL 304.4


In the Bordoville vision Ellen White again reiterated the primary purpose of Adventist health institutions—a purpose that had become fuzzy in the interim: Adventist health work is as “closely connected with the third angel’s message as the hand is with the body.” Further, Adventist health work was not to be done in some quiet corner: Adventist health principles should “be agitated, and the public mind deeply stirred to investigate.” Mrs. White reiterated that Adventist institutions are “established upon different principles” from health centers that are “conservative, making it their object to meet the popular class half way … that they will receive the greatest patronage and the most money. “Other explicit principles relating to Adventist health institutions included:


Adventist health institutions are to unite Biblical principles with the care of the sick. But Adventist distinctives “should not be discussed with patients,” even in the weekly prayer meetings. “Silent witness will do more than open controversy…. We must meet people where they are.” Wise health-care workers realize that many sufferers have more than physical pain. “Many carry a violated conscience, and can be reached only by the principles of Bible religion.” The home church at Battle Creek must live up to its “greatest responsibility,” and when church members do not live up to the light that health-care workers are giving to the patients, confusion and discouragement are the result.


By the early 1870s Adventist interest in health reform, with its first medical institution and health journal plus its emphasis on training quality physicians, had now become highly visible and effective in reaching out to all classes of society. MOL 304.6 – MOL 305.2


Summary of the visions then would


  • First vision – dealt with those injurious drinks


  • Second vision – dealt with bodily cleanliness


  • Third vision – dealt with health and spirituality


  • Fourth vision – dealt with integrating health and Justification or third angel’s message


  • Fifth vision – dealt with establishing health institutions for finishing the work.


How did she and the whole church fair with these visions?


Both James and Ellen White realized that it took time for them to respond “step by step” to advancing truth. 18 Experience, common sense, and divine insight prompted her often-repeated principle: “The diet reform should be progressive.” 19 God has always used this principle in revealing truth. MOL 311.11


In 1870 Mrs. White revealed further how health principles were working in her home. She referred to her “well-set table on all occasions.” Visitors, expected and unexpected, came frequently. Sheset before everybody “simple, healthful food” and “if any want more than this, they are at liberty to find it elsewhere. No butter or flesh meats of any kind come on my table. Cake is seldom there. I generally have an ample supply of fruits, good bread, and vegetables.” Sugar was not placed on the table although sometimes it was used in kitchen preparation.


When traveling on the railroad in 1870 the Whites ate at their usual hour, 1:00 P.M., “of graham bread without butter, and a generous supply of fruit.” MOL 312.2 – MOL 312.3


Ellen White and Flesh Diet

Did Ellen White eat meat after 1863? Yes, but not as a regular part of her diet. She practiced the general principles she taught others, such as that one must use the best food available under the circumstances. When away from home, either while traveling or camping in austere conditions, decades before frozen foods were invented, finding an adequate diet was often difficult. Not always able to obtain the best, for whatever reason, she at times settled for the good—the best under the circumstances.


In 1873 while on a working vacation high in the Rocky Mountains, the White party had no choice but to hunt and fish for food. She wrote in her diary: “Our provisions have been very low for some days. Many of our supplies have gone…. We expected supplies three days ago certainly, but none have come. Willie went to the lake for water. We heard his gun and found he had shot two ducks. This is really a blessing, for we need something to live upon.”


  • A few weeks later, after arriving in California, she reported that they no longer ate meat, although they “bought meat once for May Walling while she was sick, but not a penny have we expended for meat since.”


During the rainy, foggy January of 1884, Ellen White spent some time at the St. Helena Health Retreat where there was more sunshine and warmth. But the physician, manager, and cook did not favor a vegetarian cuisine. She wrote of her experience: “When I came to the Retreat, I determined not to taste meat, but I could get scarcely anything else to eat, and therefore ate a little meat. It caused unnatural action of the heart. It was not the right kind of food…. MOL 312.4 – MOL 312.7


“The use of meat while at the Retreat awakened the old appetite, and after I returned home, it clamored for indulgence. Then I resolved to change entirely, and not under any circumstances eat meat, and thus encourage this appetite. Not a morsel of meat or butter has been on my table since I returned. We have milk, fruit, grains, and vegetables.


“For a time I lost all desire for food. Like the children of Israel, I hankered after flesh meats. But I firmly refused to have meat bought or cooked. I was weak and trembling, as everyone who subsists on meat will be when deprived of the stimulus. But now my appetite has returned. I enjoy bread and fruit, my head is generally clear, and my strength firmer. I have none of the goneness so common with meat eaters. I have had my lesson, and, I hope, learned it well.”


  • In 1888 Mrs. White wrote that she had not bought “a penny’s worth of tea for years.” However, she would use some tea “as a medicine” for “severe vomiting.”


  • In 1890, after two years of traveling in Europe, she observed: “Where plenty of good milk and fruit can be obtained there is rarely any excuse for eating animal food…. In certain cases of illness or exhaustion it may be thought best to use some meat, but great care should be taken to secure the flesh of healthy animals…. When I could not obtain the food I needed, I have sometimes eaten a little meat; but I am becoming more and more afraid of it.”


Ellen White, with her heavy writing program and frequent public appearances, needed the help of a cook to care for her extended family. She was not always able to secure the services of a cook trained in health reform principles. In Australia during the 1890s, where fruit, vegetables, grains, and nuts were not easy to obtain or affordable, meat was the standby for most people. Two weeks after arriving in Australia, she penned her plea: “I am suffering more now for want of someone who is experienced in the cooking line, to prepare things I can eat. The cooking in this country is in every way deficient. Take out the meat, which we seldom use—and I dare not use it here at all—and sit at their tables, and if you can sustain your strength, you have an excellent constitution…. I would pay a higher price for a cook than for any other part of my work.”


While in Australia, she came to the place where she “absolutely banished meat from my table.” For a time, she had allowed some meat to be served to workers and family members. From that time on January, 1894 it was understood “that whether I am at home or abroad, nothing of this kind is to be used in my family, or come upon my table. I have had much representation before my mind in the night season on this subject.” MOL 312.7 – MOL 313.3


What was her dietary practice at Elmshaven after her return to America in 1900? A number of letters reveal the daily routine of that busy home with many workers and members of the family eating together. Among the dietary features of the White home were:


Breakfast at 7:30 A.M. and dinner at 1:00 P.M., the most convenient time decided by the extended family;No meat, no butter, no cheese, no “greasy mixtures of food”: “all are satisfied” with the cream from their two cows;


Ellen White preferred vermicelli and canned tomatoes cooked together, which she ate with zwieback; stewed fruit of various kinds augmented her main meal. Other items used occasionally included dried corn cooked with milk, and lemon pie; All members of the extended family ate items that best served their needs. (Ellen White said that she did not hold herself up as a criterion for them); Anyone desiring to eat in the evening was free to do so; A variety of food—simple, wholesome, and palatable—was always provided.


A “step-by-step” Journey?

Ellen White’s major health visions of 1863 and 1865 encompassed all features of the health reform message that she emphasized until her death. Changes in certain emphases through the years only refined those principles, they did not add or subtract from them. As time passes, even prophets must take time to assimilate revealed principles—time for theory to become practice in their own lives. She constantly advocated the principle, in practice as well as in teaching, that everyone who is committed to truth will move from the bad to the good, from the good to the better, from the better to the best. Such was her experience. MOL 313.4 – MOL 313.12


Ellen White saw the difference between patently injurious substances (alcoholic beverages, pork, tobacco, tea, and coffee) and those items of diet that were not healthful in immoderate amounts (clean meat, milk, eggs, salt, and sugar). Some of this divine insight, especially regarding pork, came as a surprise to her. Other items were being discussed in the nineteenth century, but nowhere else were all the principles she advanced integrated into a practical program. Nowhere else were these principles put in terms of preparing a people for the coming of the Lord. What may appear to be lapses in her journey from the good to the best (in incorporating into her life-practice divinely-revealed health principles), can well be understood by those who remember their own journey from the good to the best.


  • Circumstances beyond one’s control and the absence of the best often dictate selections that are not always one’s preferred choice. Those who understand the gospel, those who realize that God asks only for our best under the circumstances that prevail, those who realize that obedience to known duty is not done to impress God (legalism) but to honor Him—such people will understand why on rare occasions and unusual circumstances Ellen White ate some meat.


Ellen White followed the principle of the Great Controversy Theme that was reflected in Christ’s example—truth should never be coerced.


She conveyed to others, whenever she had an appropriate opportunity, the principles of health reform as she had received them—an integrated, coordinated system of principles that promises health of mind and body and soul. She was clear and forceful regarding the relationship of health to one’s spiritual growth and eternal destiny. But she did not compel, threaten, or coerce others to do what she knew they should do—she would not be conscience or criterion for others. That fact, in itself, reveals the truth about God and our responsibility for each other. MOL 313.13 – MOL 314.3


What should we make of the rumors and charges that have been circulated through the years regarding Ellen White’s own dietary choices?


Ham on the White table. D. M. Canright, a hostile ex-Adventist preacher, is reported to have said that he saw the Whites eat ham in their own home. He probably was right since he “embraced the Sabbath” under James White’s preaching in 1859. Early Adventists did not understand the distinction between clean and unclean meats. In the late 1850s, the Whites were still eating swine’s flesh. Not until after the Otsego vision of June, 1863, did they cease eating it. Between 1859 and 1863, Canright would have had many opportunities to see the Whites eating swine’s flesh.


Ellen White was a backslider on meat eating all her life. Ellen White did not claim that after the 1863 Otsego health vision she never again ate meat. Prior to the vision, she believed that she “was dependent upon a meat diet for strength.” Because of her weak physical condition, especially for her tendency to faint when weak and dizzy, she thought that meat was “indispensable.” In fact, at that time she was “a great meat eater“: flesh meat was her “principal article of diet.” MOL 314.6 – MOL 314.8


But she complied with advancing light. She cut meat out of her “bill of fare” immediately, along with butter and three meals a day. What was the result? “My former faint and dizzy feelings have left me.” Years later, at eighty-two years of age, she could write: “I have better health today, notwithstanding my age, than I had in my younger days.” MOL 314.9 – MOL 315.1


Ellen White did eat meat occasionally, noting in 1901 that there were times in the past when she “was compelled to eat a little meat.” Difficult travel conditions, new cooks, and medical emergencies demanded reasonable adjustments. In other words, she was not a fanatic regarding meat eating, especially in her counsel to others: “I have never felt that it was my duty to say that no one should taste of meat under any circumstances. To say this … would be carrying matters to extremes. I have never felt that it was my duty to make sweeping assertions. What I have said I have said under a sense of duty, but I have been guarded in my statements, because I did not want to give occasion for anyone to be conscience for another.” MOL 315.2


It is also important to note that Ellen White distinguished between “meat” and “fish.” In 1876 she wrote her traveling husband: “We have not had a particle of meat in the house since you left and long before you left. We have had salmon a few times. It has been rather high in price.” MOL 315.3


  • In poverty-stricken Australia during the mid-1890s, she recognized that fish would be an appropriate part of the diet of the workmen who were building Avondale College. In a letter to her son Willie, she wrote: “We cannot feed them all, but will you please get us dried codfish and dried fish of any description—nothing canned? This will give a good relish to the food.”


  • Two years after her personal no-meat pledge at the Brighton (Australia) camp meeting, Mrs. White wrote to her non-Adventist niece, Mary Clough Watson: “Two years ago I came to the conclusion that there was danger in using the flesh of dead animals, and since then I have not used meat at all. It is never placed on my table. I use fish when I can get it. We get beautiful fish from the salt water lake near here. I use neither tea nor coffee. As I labor against these things, I cannot but practice that which I know to be best for my health, and my family are in perfect harmony with me. You see, my dear niece, that I am telling you matters just as they are.” MOL 315.4 – MOL 315.5


Oysters. Fannie Bolton, 47 a former literary assistant, wrote that Ellen White, at a rail depot, ate “big white raw oysters with vinegar, pepper and salt…. I was overwhelmed with this inconsistency and dumb with horror. Elder Starr hurried me out and made all sorts of excuses and justifications of Sister White’s action; yet I kept thinking in my heart, ‘What does it mean? What has God said? How does she dare eat these abominations?'”


  • When G. B. Starr heard of this letter he was astounded. He responded to W. C. White: “I can only say that I regard it as the most absurdly, untruthful lot of rubbish that I have ever seen or read regarding our dear Sister White.


“The event simply never occurred. I never saw your mother eat oysters or meat of any kind either in a restaurant or at her own table. Fannie Bolton’s statement … is a lie of the first order. I never had such an experience and it is too absurd for anyone who ever knew your mother to believe….


“I think this entire letter was written by Fannie Bolton in one of her most insane moments….


  • “When we visited Florida in 1928, Mrs. Starr and I were told that at a camp meeting, Fannie Bolton made a public statement that she had lied about Sister White, and that she repented of it.”


Though Fannie Bolton’s report was false, Ellen White did request oysters in 1882 in a letter to Mary, her daughter-in-law: “If you can get me a good box of herrings, fresh ones, please do so. These last ones that Willie got are bitter and old. MOL 315.6 – MOL 315.11


If you can buy … half a dozen cans of good tomatoes, please do so. We shall need them. If you can get a few cans of good oysters, get them.”


What shall we make of this request for oysters? Aren’t oysters considered unclean according to Leviticus 11? The answer to that question was not clear to Seventh-day Adventists in the 1880s any more than their attitude toward pork was clear in the 1850s.


In 1883 W. H. Littlejohn, pastor of the Battle Creek Tabernacle, conducted a question/answer column in the church paper. In answering whether oysters are included among the unclean foods of Leviticus 11, Littlejohn said: “It is difficult to decide with certainty whether oysters would properly come under the prohibition of Leviticus 11:9-12…. It would, however, seem from the language, as if they might.”


Where no direct vision insight was given, Adventists like anybody else had to work their way through such dietary matters.


Ellen White and Accusation of Hypocrisy

This charge is based on the fact that Ellen White was lucid and forthright regarding the danger of meat eating but occasionally ate flesh foods.


  • Her son W. C., wrote to G. B. Starr in 1933 that the White family had been vegetarians but not always “teetotalers” (total abstainers from flesh foods).


In 1894, Ellen White wrote to a non-Adventist active in the temperance cause in Australia who had asked about the Adventist position on being “total abstainers”: “I am happy to assure you that as a denomination we are in the fullest sense total abstainers from the use of spirituous liquors, wine, beer, fermented cider, and also tobacco and all other narcotics…. All are vegetarians, many abstaining from the use of flesh food, while others use it in only the most moderate degree.” Many of Ellen White’s strongest statements against meat were written after she had renewed her commitment to total abstinence in 1894. MOL 316.1 – MOL 316.7


Here we note that for Ellen White a vegetarian was not necessarily a “teetotaler,” that is, a total abstainer, but one who did not eat flesh foods as a habit. Here we have a clear example of the difference between a principle and a policy. Vegetarianism was a policy based upon principle: we should eat the best food obtainable under the circumstances. Principles are clear statements, always true under all circumstances. Policies may change, due to time, place, and circumstances. Policies work out the principles by always doing the best possible under the circumstances. Only the individual’s conscience knows when those decisions of doing “one’s best” have been made. MOL 316.8


Ellen White counseled church members “to avoid meat eating, not because it is regarded as a sin to eat meat, that is, not a principle but because it is not healthful but a good policy.” MOL 316.13


She understood clearly the difference between unchangeable principles and the conditionality of policies. Note this wisdom: “Those who understand the laws of health and who are governed by principle, will shun the extremes, both of indulgence and of restrictions. Their diet is chosen, not for the mere gratification of appetite, but for the upbuilding of the body. They seek to preserve every power in the best condition for the highest service to God and man…. There is real common sense in dietetic reform. The subject should be studied broadly and deeply, and no one should criticize others because their practice is not, in all things, in harmony with his own. It is impossible in matters of diet to make an unvarying rule to regulate everyone’s habits, and no one should think himself a criterion for all.” MOL 317.1


Prior to the 1901 General Conference session, a few leaders met with Ellen White concerning dietary practices. Her remarks were recorded by C. C. Crisler, her secretary: “Oh, how it has hurt me to have the road blocks thrown in the way in regard to this subject. Some have said, ‘Sister White eats cheese, and therefore we are at liberty to eat cheese.’ I have tasted cheese once or twice, but that is a different thing from making it a diet. Once when at Minneapolis, I sat down at a table on which there was some cheese. I was quite sick at the time, and some of my brethren told me that they thought if I ate a little cheese, it might do me good. I ate a small piece, and from then it has been reported in large assemblies that Sister White eats cheese. MOL 317.1 – MOL 317.2


  • “I have not had meat in my house for years. But do not give up the use of meat because Sister White does not eat it. I would not give a farthing for your health reform if that is what it is based upon. I want you to stand in your individual dignity and in your individual consecration before God, the whole being dedicated to Him…. I want you to think of these things. Do not make any human being your criterion.”


Ellen White understood clearly the difference between principle and policy. Her common sense in regard to health reform made her a physically stronger, more productive person as she became older—not a common experience for many in her day. Far from being a hypocrite, she led the way in assimilating principle into practice. Dietary practices were not a form of penance, nor a ritual by which to earn salvation. MOL 317.2 – MOL 317.4


In reviewing Ellen White’s health reform principles, readers should first place themselves in the middle of the nineteenth century. Without any more information about the future than the prevailing notions that governed medical practice at that time, think of how strange the unfolding, synthesizing, integrating health principles of Ellen White must have seemed. Of course, some of these principles had been promoted by contemporaries, but in no place were they so complete or so integrated. No other writers were so free from those errors that subsequent research contradicted. MOL 320.2


People generally saw no connection between their life style and disease. Fresh air in the home, night or day, aroused qualms for fear of catching a cold or being bitten by an invasion of flies or mosquitoes. People seldom bathed. MOL 320.4


  • We are now better able to understand what Ellen White meant when she said at the General Conference session of 1909: “It is reported by some that I have not followed the principles of health reform as I have advocated them with my pen; but I can say that I have been a faithful health reformer. Those who have been members of my family know that this is true.”


In modern attempts to understand history, too frequently we judge the past by the present, most often unknowingly. Individuals of the past must be judged in the context of their circumstances, not ours. In a day without refrigeration, when obtaining fresh fruit and vegetables depended on where one lived and the time of the year, when meat substitutes were rarely obtainable before the introduction of peanut butter and dry-cereals (mid-1890s), on some occasions one either ate meat or nothing at all. In our day, at least in developed countries, meat eating is rarely a necessity. MOL 314.4 – MOL 314.5


Hazards of some foods, Replacement and Classification

When it comes to matters of health, identifying the problem is not sufficient but providing a solution is the best thing. Here is a guideline of the hazards of some foods, replacement and classification.


Concerning yeast germ in bread; Ellen White penned that bread should be “thoroughly baked that, so far as possible, the yeast germs shall be destroyed.” She was scoffed at for this statement, even as late as the 1940s. For years popular magazines advocated eating a cake of live yeast daily! We now know that live yeast cells “take up B vitamins from the food material in the intestine, thus making them unavailable for the body.” MOL 320.8 – MOL 321.1


“Butter is less harmful when eaten on cold bread than when used in cooking.” “When properly prepared, olives, like nuts, supply the place of butter and flesh meats.”


What’s bad about butter? Two basic problems: disease and health factors relating to fat and cholesterol in the diet. Regarding disease, in the late 1800s butter “was often rancid … a mixture of casein and water, or of calcium, gypsum, gelatin fat sic and mashed potatoes.”


Referring to the future, Ellen White wrote: “Tell them that the time will soon come when there will be no safety in using eggs, milk, cream, or butter, because disease in animals is increasing.”


Apart from the danger of disease, butter is almost pure fat. It has many of the long-chained saturated fatty acids that tend to increase serum cholesterol (as well as short-chained fatty acids which do not cause the problem). One tablespoon of butter contains 33 mg. of saturated fats and cholesterol.


  • The American Heart Association stated on May 13, 1994: “Because butter is rich in both saturated fat and cholesterol, it is potentially a highly atherogenic food causing hardening of the arteries. Most margarine is made from vegetable fat and provides no dietary cholesterol. The more liquid the margarine, i.e., tub or liquid forms, the less hydrogenated it is and the less trans fatty acids it contains. Therefore, though still high in fat, margarine is a preferable substitute for butter, and soft margarines are better than hard ones.”


Dietary fiber. Ellen White warned that “fine-flour bread cannot impart to the system the nourishment that you will find in the unbolted-wheat bread. The common use of bolted-wheat bread cannot keep the system in a healthy condition.”


The body needs two major types of fiber in the diet. Soluble fiber helps to lower serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The best sources are oats, beans, apples, barley, and buckwheat: thus these foods help reduce the risk of a heart attack. Insoluble fiber can be found in wheat bran, which reduces the risk of colon cancer. Foods high in fiber help to reduce the risk of carcinogenic agents in the intestines. The fiber attaches to the cholesterol and bile acids that have been secreted by the gallbladder, and removes them from the intestinal tract rapidly. MOL 321.3 – MOL 321.9


Animal products have little or no fiber. Refined grains and other refined products have very little. In an Adventist Health Study, 16 men who often ate whole wheat bread had only 56 percent of the expected non-fatal heart attack rate and 89 percent of the expected fatal heart attack rate.


Numerous recent studies relate the risk of colon cancer to the lack of fiber in the diet. Gastrointestinal transit time is seventy-seven hours when on a refined diet, but thirty-five hours on an unrefined diet. Populations on a refined diet have a higher incidence of colon cancer than in countries where most are on an unrefined diet. Colon-cancer risk decreases as the fiber in the diet increases. Experts such as Dr. D. P. Burkitt, world-renowned British surgeon and medical researcher, state that a lack of dietary fiber is a major cause of appendicitis, varicose veins, diverticulosis, colon cancer, hiatal hernias, constipation, and other health problems.


On flesh foods; in 1866 Ellen White wrote that “the liability to take disease is increased tenfold by meat eating.” Further, in 1869 she said that “meat should not be placed before our children.”


Why was she so explicit? Because the practice of meat eating is detrimental to physical, mental, and spiritual health.


Physical impact: Ellen White wrote that meat eating increases the “liability to disease … tenfold.” Further, it causes obesity, sudden death (heart attack or stroke), “unwholesome condition” of bones (probably osteoporosis), and cancer. Contrary to conventional thinking, she called it “a mistake to suppose that muscular strength depends on the use of animal food. The needs of the system can be better supplied, and more vigorous health can be enjoyed, without its use.” In addition, “the use of the flesh of animals tends to cause a grossness obesity of body.” MOL 321.10 – MOL 322.4


Mental impact: She cautioned that “students would accomplish much more in their studies if they never tasted meat. When the animal part of the human agent is strengthened by meat eating, the intellectual powers diminish proportionately.”


Spiritual impact: Even more important than the physical and mental liabilities of meat eating is the fact that the “religious life can be more successfully gained and maintained if meat is discarded, for this diet stimulates into intense activity lustful propensities, and enfeebles the moral and spiritual nature.”


For Ellen White, “diet reform is progressive.” For this reason, she said frequently that she never felt it her “duty to say that no one should taste of meat under any circumstances. To say this when the people have been educated to live on flesh to so great an extent, would be carrying matters to extreme.”


At the same time, she did not soften her words when eternal issues were at stake. In the context of those who were proclaiming the messages of the three angels (Revelation 14) and thus were preparing for Christ’s return, she said: “Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat eating will eventually be done away; flesh will cease to form a part of their diet.” Meat eating will be eliminated “before His people can stand before Him a perfected people.”


  • Ellen White spoke directly to church leaders regarding meat eating: No one should be a “teacher of the people” who, by teaching or example, “contradicts” the principles of health reform. Physicians “who use flesh meat and prescribe it for their patients, should not be employed in our institutions.” Ministers who eat meat “set an evil example,” and make it difficult for others to have “confidence” in them. MOL 322.5 – MOL 322.9


Aware of some of the dangers of too many nuts in the diet (because of their high fat content), she warned that “too large a quantity of nut food is an injury … but … all can eat freely of fruit.”


In the Adventist Health Study men who ate nuts 4-5 times a week had only half as many fatal heart attacks as those who rarely ate nuts. 80 Walnuts and almonds have been shown to lower serum lipids (reducing risk of atherosclerosis).


On fruits and vegetables;. recent research has focused on the health benefits of a diet rich in vegetables and fruits. “Vegetables and fruits are complex foods containing more than 100 beneficial vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other substances. Scientists do not yet know which of the nutrients or other substances in fruits and vegetables may be protective against cancer. The principal possibilities include specific vitamins and minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals—carotenoids, flavonoids, terpenes, sterols, indoles, and phenols—that are present in foods of plant origin…. Until more is known about specific food components, the best advice is to eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day.”


The Adventist Health Study indicated that vegetarians consume twice as much vitamin A and four times as much vitamin C as people in the general population. The antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E may lower the risk of cancer and coronary heart disease. Eating four servings of legumes per week decreases risk of pancreatic cancer much more than eating legumes only once a week.


Where does one find these antioxidants? In carrots, squash, tomatoes, leafy vegetables, dried fruits, fresh strawberries, melons, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussell sprouts, etc. In a study of elderly people, high consumers of these foods had only 30 percent of the cancer mortality as that of low consumers. In the 1996 American Cancer Society’s Report, reference was made to the “oxygen-induced damage to tissues that occurs constantly as a result of normal metabolism. Because such damage is associated with increased cancer risk, antioxidant nutrients are thought to protect against cancer. Antioxidant nutrients include vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and carotenoids. Studies suggest that people who eat more fruits and vegetables containing these antioxidants have a lower risk for cancer.” MOL 324.11 – MOL 325.3


Those eating cabbage once a week had only one-third the risk of colon cancer compared to those who ate it once a month. 86 Those getting adequate vitamin A had only one-third the risk of lung cancer compared to those with low intake of vitamin A. Oral and pharyngeal cancer were reduced by half in those consuming high quantities of fruits and vegetables.


Adequate amounts of the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E have been shown to reduce the risk of cataracts. Those who consumed fewer than 3.5 servings of fruit or vegetables daily had a five to ten times increased risk of cataracts!


Foods high in potassium … like oranges, bananas, potatoes, and milk … reduce risk of stroke by as much as 40 percent. MOL 325.4 – MOL 325.6


On fruits and vegetables at the same meal, Ellen White counseled that “we should avoid eating vegetables and fruit at the same meal.” “At one meal use bread and fruit, at the next bread and vegetables.” MOL 325.7


What are the problems when fruit and vegetables are combined? For many with a “feeble” digestion, the mix will cause “distress,” and “inability to put forth mental effort.” Some children “become fretful and peevish.”


Ellen White saw in vision the cause of a minister’s sickness: “I took notice of your diet. You eat too great a variety at one meal. Fruit and vegetables taken at one meal produce acidity of the stomach; then impurity of the blood results, and the mind is not clear because the digestion is imperfect.” MOL 325.9 – MOL 325.10


Alcohol affects brain cells. When Ellen White wrote in 1885 that alcoholic beverages destroy “reason and life,” and in 1905 that such drinking “destroys the sensitive nerves of the brain,” she sounded like an overzealous temperance orator. But in 1970 research indicated that “even the moderate imbiber may incur some loss of irreplaceable brain cells—every time he drinks…. The only real difference between his loss of brain tissue and that of the heavy drinker is one of degree.” The ability to make decisions concerning moral issues begins to slip at very low alcohol intake levels (much below what is considered adequate to lower heart attack risk).


Caffeine affects spirituality. Ellen White may not have known that she was many decades ahead of scientific confirmation when she warned that “all such stimulants and narcotics as tea, coffee, tobacco, alcohol, and morphine … exert a pernicious influence upon moral character. The earlier these hurtful habits are formed, the more firmly will they hold their victim in slavery to lust, and the more certainly will they lower the standard of spirituality.” But this truth is reflected in current studies. Researchers, among other findings, note that as coffee drinkers grow older, their coffee consumption increases. On a spiritual plane, this increase in consumption accompanies a decrease in religious involvement.


Faulty diet and poor scholarship. In 1884 Ellen White stated that “nine tenths of the wickedness among the children of today is caused by intemperance in eating and drinking.” Six years later she wrote that “the diet materially affects the mind and disposition.” Today widespread evidence indicates that there is a correlation between poor diet habits and poor scholarship. Better-fed children get better grades in school. When students with poor grades and poor diets are given nutritionally enriched meals, their grades and other scholastic indicators improve. MOL 326.12 – MOL 327.3


Lastly here is food classification that may shock many who have been carrying the matter to extremes. We are to avoid any kind of zeal without knowledge.


Mrs. White advised students to eat fruit and grains rather than vegetables for supper: “Let the students have the third meal prepared without vegetables, but with simple, wholesome food, such as fruit and bread.”


  • The White family considered vegetables to include peas, beans, potatoes, turnips, parsnips, onions, cabbages, and squashes (although some of these would be classified as fruits botanically).


  • Fruits included tomatoes, apples, pears, peaches, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, huckleberries, grapes, cranberries, and raisins. Grains (or seeds) included wheat, corn, rye, barley, oatmeal, rice, farina, cornstarch, “and the like.”


Some have wondered about Ellen White’s inclusion of tomatoes within the fruit group, but that she did, according to common usage. MOL 325.11 – MOL 326.2


Principle Guides for the Third Angel’s Message

The first principle, which applies to all areas of Christian responsibilities, is that everyone knows for himself what “known duty” is. “Known duty” at any given moment may not be the same for any two people. Yet, to balk at “known duty,” little or much, reveals the heart of a rebel—a deeper problem than a matter of diet.


In 1893 Ellen White wrote: “No one can believe with the heart unto righteousness, and obtain justification by faith, while continuing the practice of those things which the Word of God forbids, or while neglecting any known duty.”


Neglecting “known duty” will cause “weakness and darkness, and subject us to fierce temptation.” In other words, to hear instruction that God validated through Ellen White but not to incorporate it into one’s life, opens the door to other temptations and spiritual darkness.


The second principle is that we should do the best we can under all circumstances. For example, in the days when nutritional supplements were not available, or when various vegetables and fruit were not easily obtainable, Ellen White suggested that grape juice in the best form available was appropriate as a food supplement for medicinal purposes. Obviously she was not suggesting that wine be used as a recreational beverage or as a feature of one’s regular diet.


When she advised “domestic wine” for medicinal purposes, she knew that the sick person needed the nutritional properties of the grape, nutrients that could be assimilated quickly by the body. Under the circumstances, if the domestic wine contained a little alcohol, it still would have provided more benefit than not taking it. In 1868, in one of his question/ answer articles, James White wrote: “During the past year, Mrs. W. has, at three or four times, had feelings of great debility and faintness in the morning…. To prevent distressing faintness at these times, she, immediately after rising, had taken an egg in a little pure, domestic, grape wine, perhaps a spoonful at a time, and never thought that this had to do with drugs, as she uses the term in her writings, more than with the man in the moon. During the past year, she may have used one pint of wine. It is only in extreme cases that the use of wine is justifiable, and then let it be a ‘little wine,’ to gently stimulate those in a sinking condition.”


In Australia during the 1890s, finding a quality diet was difficult and meat was the cheapest food available. On one occasion when sickness was in a neighbor’s home, Mrs. White recalled that “there was nothing in the house suitable to eat. And they refused to eat anything that we took them. They had been accustomed to having meat. We felt that something must be done. I said to Sara McEnterfer, ‘Take chickens from my place, and prepare them some broth.’ … They soon recovered.”


The lesson? “Although we did not use flesh foods ourselves, when we thought it essential for that family in their time of sickness, we gave them what we felt they needed. There are occasions when we must meet the people where they are.”


Here again, however, common sense is needed: the first and second principle taken together should give wisdom to the health-care provider and to the ill.


The third principle is to avoid “everything hurtful,” and


The fourth principle is “to use judiciously that which is healthful.”


The fifth principle focuses on self-control. “Excessive indulgence in eating, drinking, sleeping, or seeing is sin.” Self-indulgence is often displayed in “dressing” and “overwork,” thus indicating that the mind is not under the “control of reason and conscience.”


The sixth principle is that we should “not mark out any precise line to be followed in diet.” Obviously, clear and precise warnings were given on certain unhealthful foods. But in turning to the diet that should take the place of injurious foods, Ellen White stroked out broad lines, such as “grains, fruits, nuts and vegetables.” Why the broad strokes without “precise lines”? Because she recognized that a healthful diet must recognize individual differences in climate, occupation, and physical characteristics.


The seventh principle reveals caring and compassion: a non-flesh diet should not be urged until appropriate substitutes for protein are available and the reasons for the replacement understood.


The eighth principle focuses on the motivation behind health reform: health reform is not a set of duties by which we impress God and earn His love (legalism). Rather, it is one more revelation from a loving Lord as to how best to avoid sorry circumstances that result from bad decisions. Health reform contains those insights that will hasten character development and a life of service—the object of redemption and the purpose of living. Health reform embodies a system of choices that is understood progressively through experience. For this reason, meat eating, for example, has never been a “test of fellowship” in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.


The ninth principle is best expressed in Ellen White’s simple formula: “I make myself a criterion for no one else.” She did not attempt to be conscience for others; neither did she make “a raid” on the tables of those who were slower to follow advancing light.


The tenth principle permeates the previous nine: We must reason from cause to effect, perhaps best expressed in Paul’s counsel: “God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7). MOL 310.2 – MOL 311.10


Summarily, we cannot give an excuse on Reformation because EGW did this or that. She had a limited information. Even the pioneers were limited in understanding some subjects that’s why you can read they were still not clear on those unclean meats. They never took prohibited foods at liberty but emergencies. No wonder EGW said she doesn’t care bout your health reform if you don’t have a better reason or you are doing it because she did. The problem with Adventists is that they have become mere reflectors of what they hear. Such laziness is something that has caught up with all of us and needs repentance. Another problem is presenting half-truths on the pulpit and trying to revise history to look so smooth and fit our bill. Truth should be told in a truthful manner if people will be urged to come to it. The history of human struggle including messengers and Prophets should inspire us to greater height for God is seeking that finished product, the 144,000. What we aim is what we shall achieve and by the grace of God, I hope the final generation will never forget Philippians 1:6, 4:13


Prenatal and Antenatal care viz Character Formation

Parental smoking is a significant factor in their children’s health, even their death. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, say that “more young children are killed by parental smoking than by all unintentional injuries combined.” They attribute 2,800 deaths to low birth weight caused by mothers who smoke during pregnancy. Another 2,000 deaths are due to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) caused by secondhand smoke; another 1,000 are caused by asthma. The same research said that an additional 5.4 million children suffer nonfatal asthma and ear infections triggered by parents’ smoking, costing an estimated $4.6 billion annually to treat.


Further research indicates that pregnant women who smoke more than ten cigarettes a day run the risk of giving birth to a child who will develop “conduct disorder,” defined as “serious” antisocial behavior, for six months or more. Boys whose mothers smoked during pregnancy were 4.4 times more likely to engage in antisocial activities, including lying, stealing, arson, vandalism, or cruelty than boys whose mothers did not smoke or smoked fewer than ten cigarettes a day. Studies suggest that smoking causes changes in a child’s brain functioning.


Drugs and Birth Defects

In 1865 Mrs. White linked birth defects with poisonous drugs administered by physicians. In 1890 she warned that thousands “born deaf, blind, diseased, or idiotic” were casualties of their parents’ indulgences in alcoholic beverages. 159 Scientific research beginning in the 1950s has validated this warning, including the negative effects of smoking and caffeine consumption on the fetus. 160 During pregnancy even “aspirin should be taken only in small amounts and not over long periods of time.” MOL 330.3 – MOL 330.5


In 1865 Mrs. White wrote: “The irritability, nervousness, and despondency, manifested by the mother, will mark the character of her child. In past generations, if mothers had informed themselves in regard to the laws of their being, they would have understood that their constitutional strength, as well as the tone of their morals, and their mental faculties, would in a great measure be represented in their offspring.”


In 1954 Ashley Montagu wrote: “There is now sufficient evidence from many sources to indicate that the unborn child can be variously affected by physical changes in the mother, and that although a woman cannot ‘mark’ her baby by seeing something unpleasant before he is born, nor make him a poet by reading Keats and Shelley during her pregnancy, there are ways in which she definitely can influence his behavior pattern. It is largely up to her, and to those surrounding her during her pregnancy, whether her infant will be born a happy, healthy, sweet-tempered individual or an ill-adjusted neurotic.”


Corroborating the research of many, Leland H. Scott wrote in 1967: “There is a growing evidence that chemical irregularities in the mother’s blood brought about by endocrine imbalance, dietary deficiencies, or ill health may have serious effects. Maternal malnutrition often results in the unborn child being deprived of essential vitamins or nutrients necessary for its normal growth and health. Childhood abnormalities, such as rickets, nervous instability, epilepsy, and cerebral palsy, have been found to result from serious malnutrition in the mother at certain points during the period of pregnancy.”


First years of a Child’s Life

Tightly connected with the concept of prenatal influences is the belief that the first few years of a child’s life set the life course. In 1881 Ellen White wrote that the “parents’ work must begin with the child in its infancy.”


More precisely, parents should “properly discipline … children during the first three years of their lives. Do not allow them to form their wishes and desires. The mother must be mind for her child. The first three years is the time in which to bend the tiny twig.”


In the overall training of the child, in areas beyond discipline, Ellen White is emphatic: “Too much importance cannot be placed on the early training of children. The lessons that the child learns during the first seven years of life have more to do with forming his character than all that it learns in future years.”


  • The importance of a child’s first three years of learning was stressed in 1997 by a White House panel of experts, as reported in The Washington Post. The scientists and child development specialists presented “compelling new research showing that a child’s language, thinking and emotional health are largely formed before age 3…. Not only are most brain synapses—connections between brain cells—formed before age 3, the report said, ‘those synapses that have been activated many times by repeated early experience tend to become permanent; the synapses that are not used tend to become eliminated.'” MOL 333.3 – MOL 333.9


True Education and its Purpose

The similarity between Ellen White’s educational reform message and that of a few, clear voices of her time rests on the obvious fact that all those involved in educational reform were contending with the same problems: classic curricula rather than a more practical education; poorly ventilated, poorly lighted classrooms; direct relationship between manual training/exercise with mental vigor, even spiritual values; and education as an important factor in character development. Especially when Bible-oriented reformers attempted educational reform, one would expect general agreement on principles and practice. Ellen White understood this when in her book Education she wrote this remarkable summation of educational principles: “We can trace the line of the world’s teachers as far back as human records extend; but the Light was before them. As the moon and the stars of our solar system shine by the reflected light of the sun, so, as far as their teaching is true, do the world’s great thinkers reflect the rays of the Sun of Righteousness. Every gleam of thought, every flash of the intellect, is from the Light of the world.”


Is there anything unique about Ellen White’s principles of education? Her special contribution lies in the unity and clarity of her educational philosophy, unencumbered with the fads and “false leads” of nineteenth century contemporaries. Although a few contemporaries also saw the religious purpose of education, Mrs. White placed education within the Great Controversy Theme, including its vital role in eschatology (the study of last-day events). Originality is not the test of a prophet; dynamic freshness, coherence and unity that harmonize with the Bible are. MOL 345.3 – MOL 345.4


Learning an occupational skill was urged not merely to be prepared to earn a living if circumstances required such, but also to add vigor to mental studies and to provide a special opportunity for character growth. Learning a trade would help produce “a more elevated class of youth … with stability of character. They would have perseverance, fortitude, and courage to surmount obstacles.” In fact, if students had to make a choice between a knowledge of the sciences or a “knowledge of labor for practical life,” Mrs. White would “unhesitatingly answer, The latter. If one must be neglected, let it be the study of books.” MOL 346.8


School curriculum must be organized to fulfill education’s highest aim. The contrast between secular and Bible-centered curricula is seen most clearly in how the nature of human beings is perceived. Are we products of an evolutionary ascent, or are we created beings, made in the image of our Creator? Is education a matter of “getting ahead” and “succeeding” in a secular career, or is it a process of allowing our Creator to work out His original plan for human beings? MOL 347.1


  • Ellen White’s many references to making the Bible “a textbook in our schools” meant that the Bible should be the “basis of all education.” The Bible should not be inserted into the curriculum “sandwiched in between infidelity,” to merely “flavor” other studies. MOL 347.2


Further, making the Bible “the basis of education” does not mean that it is to be the only textbook for classes such as arithmetic, languages, and geography. The Bible was not given to the human family to be its best encyclopedia, but it does give a worldview that helps to interpret and apply information. Ellen White noted that all academic disciplines, every area of thought, take on “new significance” when seen in the light of the Great Controversy Theme. She meant that all classes must be taught within the framework of the Biblical worldview, that every class should reflect the grand purpose of Christian education—”to restore in man the image of his Maker.” MOL 347.3


Ellen White wrote much about the influence of the home for good or ill in the education of children. Neither parent should shift the responsibilities of educating the children to the other: “Only by working in unison, can the father and mother accomplish the work which God has committed to their hands.” MOL 347.7


But the mother has a unique role: “No other work can equal hers in importance.” A surrogate mother is a poor substitute for a biological mother who pursues other goals.


Why does the responsibility of educating children rest so heavily on parents, especially the mother? Why cannot outside-the-home services such as day-care centers and early kindergartens take the place of parents? Because “lessons learned, the habits formed, during the years of infancy and childhood, have more to do with the formation of character and the direction of the life than have all the instruction and training of after years.” MOL 347.8 – MOL 347.9


In fact, Mrs. White wrote: “The first six or seven years of a child’s life” should be “given to its physical training, rather than the intellect…. Parents, especially mothers, should be the only teachers of such infant minds.” However, circumstances may require earlier schooling, as Ellen White made clear at St. Helena, California, in 1904. MOL 347.10


One of the startling misconceptions of modern times is that children need parents less after they start school, even after becoming adolescents.


Higher education more than information. When Ellen White spoke of “higher education” she meant more than schooling beyond the twelfth grade. In fact, “higher education” had more to do with a religious experience than with advanced information: “Higher education calls for something greater, something more divine, than the knowledge to be obtained merely from books. It means a personal, experimental knowledge of Christ; it means emancipation from ideas, from habits and practices, that have been gained in the school of the prince of darkness.” MOL 347.11 – MOL 348.1


“Recreation is needful to those who are engaged in physical labor, and is still more essential for those whose labor is principally mental. It is not essential to our salvation, nor for the glory of God, to keep the mind laboring constantly and excessively, even upon religious themes.” MOL 348.5


Mrs. White used the word “recreation” in its best sense. She focused on the “recreating” purpose of withdrawing from the busy program of either mental or physical activity. She suggested, for example, that several families unite and “make an excursion into the country” with tasty and wholesome food in their baskets. What would these families do? She continued: “Parents and children should feel free from care, labor, and perplexity. Parents should become children with their children, making everything as pleasant for them as possible. Let the whole day be given to recreation.” MOL 348.6


In her landmark book on education, Education, she devoted a chapter to “Recreation.” In that chapter she differentiated between recreation and amusement: “Recreation, when true to its name, re-creation, tends to strengthen and build up. Calling us aside from our ordinary cares and occupations, it affords refreshment for mind and body, and thus enables us to return with new vigor to the earnest work of life. Amusement, on the other hand, is sought for the sake of pleasure, and is often carried to excess; it absorbs the energies that are required for useful work, and thus proves a hindrance to life’s true success.” MOL 348.7


But a core problem of prevailing educational systems is that it urges excellence for the wrong reasons and its attainment by the wrong methods. Mrs. White asked the question, “What is the trend of the education given?” Then she answered, “To self-seeking.” She described the goals of “true education” as the antithesis of “selfish ambition, the greed for power, and … selfish rivalry.” She observed that traditional educational methods “appeal to emulation and rivalry … and foster selfishness, the root of all evil.”


  • “Strife for supremacy” encourages “the system of ‘cramming'” and often “leads to dishonesty.” By driving students to compete, “discontent … embitters the life” and “helps to fill the world with … restless, turbulent spirits.” MOL 349.12 – MOL 349.13


Ellen White pointed to the content of much literature: Students “drink … from the wells of paganism … fed by the corruptions of ancient heathendom…. And of how many modern authors also might the same be said!” In the sciences she saw the effects of “evolution and its kindred errors” that tend “to infidelity.” Further, she saw that the “work of ‘higher criticism’ … is destroying faith in the Bible as a divine revelation … robbing God’s word of power to control, uplift, and inspire human lives.” MOL 349.14


Men and women are to “reach the highest possible degree of excellence,” but this goal cannot be reached by a “selfish and exclusive culture; for the character of God, whose likeness we are to receive, is benevolence and love.” MOL 350.2


To reach the Biblical goal of education, Mrs. White observed, would require a “radical change in some of the current methods of education. Instead of appealing to pride and selfish ambition, kindling a spirit of emulation, teachers would endeavor to awaken the love of goodness and truth and beauty—to arouse the desire for excellence. The student would seek the development of God’s gifts in himself, not to excel others, but to fulfill the purpose of the Creator and to receive His likeness.” MOL 350.3


The inherent flaw in using the spirit of competition to motivate students in the classroom or on the playing field, (or to arouse pastors to reach certain goals and congregations to raise funds, etc.) is that competition is not a principle of God’s kingdom of love—cooperation is. To fulfill the purpose of education, to restore in men and women the image of their Maker, “the temptation to be first would be quenched in the lessons daily learned in the school of Christ.” MOL 350.4


Modern educational psychologists have recognized that competition is not a valid motivator. They point out three basic flaws. Flaw One: That young people need competitive experiences in order to enter a competitive society. Flaw Two: That competition is an effective motivator. Granted, they say, competition is “valuable as a motivator only for those people who believe that they can win.” But those who do not believe that they can win are not so motivated; they are further “discouraged and disillusioned.” Flaw Three: The stress on competition leads to morality breakdown and to the compelling rule that the end justifies the means. MOL 350.5


When asked whether medical students should get basic training at Loma Linda and get the “finishing touches … from some worldly institution,” Mrs. White replied: “God forbid that such a plan would be followed.” Responding to further questions, she said: “If the Lord gives you light, well and good, we will be glad to receive it; if not, then we will wait…. When we take hold upon God, and trust in Him, He will work in our behalf. But whatever the consequences may be, we are in regard to our faith to stand distinct and separate from the world.” MOL 359.1


In November 1909 she wrote: “We cannot submit to regulations if the sacrifice of principles is involved, for this would imperil the soul’s salvation. But whenever we can comply with the law of the land without putting ourselves in a false position, we should do so. Wise laws have been framed in order to safeguard the people against the imposition of unqualified physicians. These laws we should respect, for we are ourselves protected from presumptuous pretenders. Should we manifest opposition to these requirements, it would tend to restrict the influence of our medical missionaries.” MOL 359.4


A few months later, perplexities still lingered. The school board faced enormous expenses and needed affirmation from Ellen White before they made any further commitments. Their concerns, addressed to her on January 26, 1910, 42 included these thoughts: “We are very anxious to preserve unity and harmony of action. In order to do this, we must have a clear understanding of what is to be done. Are we to understand, from what you have written concerning the establishment of a medical school at Loma Linda, that, according to the light you have received from the Lord, we are to establish a thoroughly equipped medical school, the graduates from which will be able to take State board examinations and become registered, qualified physicians?” MOL 359.5


Within twenty-four hours Ellen White responded, in part: “The light given me is, We must provide that which is essential to qualify our youth who desire to be physicians, so that they may intelligently fit themselves to be able to stand the examinations required to prove their efficiency as physicians.” MOL 359.6


Logical questions remained: Where would Adventists find qualified physicians to be teachers? MOL 360.2


When the appointed head of the new school, W. E. Howell, asked Mrs. White for more details so that no mistakes would be made from the start, she replied: “We cannot mark out a precise line to be followed unconditionally. Circumstances and emergencies will arise for which the Lord must give special instruction. But if we begin to work, depending wholly upon the Lord, watching, praying, and walking in harmony with the light He sends us, we shall not be left to walk in darkness.”


In 1905 Ellen White’s final book on health principles, The Ministry of Healing, appeared and was closely studied at Loma Linda. More material on gospel medical work was printed in volumes eight and nine of the Testimonies. In 1932, Medical Ministry, a compilation of many letters to physicians that focused on the divine purpose in health education and practice, was published.


Those men and women in 1910 should be paradigms and templates for all Seventh-day Adventists until the end of time. They listened to the messenger of God whom they had learned to trust. They knew that the only question that needed to be answered was I. H. Evans’s question: “Will we follow the counsel given?” MOL 360.3 – MOL 360.5


When one reviews the first fifty years after Ellen White published her first testimony on “Proper Education,” in 1872, several common characteristics appear: (1) the closer a school followed inspired instruction, the more efficient and productive its program became; (2) the administrators who broke new ground in educational reform believed strongly in the inspiration of Ellen White; (3) when administrators and faculty taught these principles, by precept and example, the student body responded positively. MOL 360.6





Prophetic writings occasionally contain statements that may not be easily understood. Peter once said that Paul had written “some things hard to understand, which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16).


Ignorant Slave not to be Resurrected

  • In 1858 Ellen White wrote that “the slave master would have to answer for the soul of his slave whom he has kept in ignorance…. God cannot take the slave to heaven, who has been kept in ignorance and degradation, knowing nothing of God, or the Bible, fearing nothing but his master’s lash, and not holding so elevated a position as his master’s brute beasts. But He does the best thing for him that a compassionate God can do. He lets him be as though he had not been.”


However, a few pages later she reported that she “saw the pious slave rise in the resurrection in triumph and victory.” In many places she referred to the terrible conditions imposed on slaves in the South, treated “as though they were beasts.” Nevertheless, she was equally emphatic that “many of the slaves had noble minds.”


In these statements Ellen White was distinguishing between the “pious” slave and the “ignorant” slave who knows “nothing of God.” With prophetic insight she stated that the most compassionate act for a just God would be to let such slaves remain in their graves, not to be resurrected for judgment.


Some object to this statement because the Bible says that “all who are in the graves will … come forth” (John 5:28, 29). A few chapters later, John quoted Jesus: “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:32). Here we have two examples among many where Bible writers used all-inclusive language but with very definite restrictions. No one but Universalists argue that everyone, sooner or later, will be redeemed, regardless of character or desire. Not all people will be drawn to Jesus because not all are willing to be drawn!


  • Another example of a general, all-inclusive statement is John the Revelator’s description of the Second Advent: “… every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne'” (Revelation 6:15, 16).


Obviously, not all slaves and not all free men are going to be lost! Prophets, as well as everyone else, use inclusive language at times, and most people understand the implied restrictions. The next question is, How does God deal with those who are neither among those “who have done good,” or “those who have done evil” (John 5:29)? The best we can do is to join Abraham, the father of the faithful, and believe with confidence: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25).


The 1844 Hand over the Chart

  • In 1850 Ellen White wrote that she “had seen that the 1843 chart was directed by the hand of the Lord, and that it should not be altered; that the figures were as He wanted them; that His hand was over and hid a mistake in some of the figures, so that none could see it, until His hand was removed.”


At first glance, one could wonder why God would want to hide a mistake! For those who begin with the presupposition that Jesus did not enter the closing phase of His mediatorial work in 1844, this Ellen White reference is ridiculed.


But those who have found meaning in these events, whether on earth or in heaven, also realize that God’s ways are often unexplainable. Further, His ways are often cast in human language where circumstances that God permits are described as events that God causes. When the author of Exodus wrote of God’s conversation with Moses, he portrayed God as the Agent who “hardened” Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 10:1). However, the same writer also wrote of Pharaoh’s responsibility for hardening his own heart (Exodus 8:15, 32; 9:34).


We think of Biblical circumstances where knowledge was “withheld” from dedicated men and women. On the road to Emmaus, Jesus joined two devastated disciples but they did not recognize Him because “their eyes were restrained” (Luke 24:16). A few hours later, while eating with their traveling Companion, “their eyes were opened and they knew Him” (Luke 24:31). If their eyes had been “opened” prematurely while walking toward Emmaus, they would have missed a great experience that God wanted them to share.


For reasons that God alone can explain best, Biblical students in 1843 needed the experience of 1843-1844. Obviously God could have “stepped in” and guaranteed every date, every line of reasoning, when Fitch and Hale prepared their chart. But that kind of divine intervention has been rare throughout history. Permitting men and women to work through their problems, learning special lessons that would not have been experienced otherwise, seems to have been God’s general plan.


What would have happened if William Miller had preached the true significance of 1844? What kind of public response would he have received if he had proclaimed the truth about a change in Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, rather than to emphasize His imminent return? No one would have listened to him; no one would have been stirred to read the Bible. After the disappointment of October 22, a group of his followers restudied their Bibles to discover the real meaning of 1844, an interest that never would have developed if Miller had not focused their attention on the Bible and its prophecies prior to 1844. MOL 489.5 – MOL 490.8


Scientific Accuracy

Attention has been called to statements that seem to show that Ellen White made grievous errors regarding scientific issues. Prophets are not called to update encyclopedias or dictionaries. Nor are prophets (or anyone else) to be made “an offender by a word” (Isaiah 29:21). If prophets are to be held to the highest standards of scientific accuracy (every few years these “standards” change, even for the experts), we would have cause to reject Isaiah for referring to “the four corners of the earth” (Isaiah 11:12) and John for writing that he saw “four angels standing at the four corners of the earth” (Revelation 7:1).


  • Some point to the phrase, “As the moon and the stars of our solar system shine by the reflected light of the sun,” charging that Ellen White was untrustworthy in scientific matters. But most readers would recognize this use of “stars” for “planets of our solar system” as a non-technical description easily understood by laymen.


Some have declared Ellen White was in error when she allegedly said that she had visited a “world which had seven moons,” and that the planets visited were Jupiter and Saturn. In point of fact, she never named the “world which had seven moons.” But there is more to the story.


Less than three months after she and James were married in 1846, she had a vision at the Curtis home in Topsham, Maine, in the presence of Joseph Bates. Although Bates had seen Ellen White in vision on several occasions, he still had doubts about her prophetic gift; but through the Topsham vision he was convinced that “the work is of God.” James White reported that, in this vision, Mrs. White was “guided to the planets Jupiter, Saturn, and I think one more. After she came out of vision, she could give a clear description of their moons, etc. It is well known, that she knew nothing of astronomy, and could not answer one question in relation to the planets, before she had this vision.”


What was it that convinced Bates, the old sea captain and amateur astronomer, that Ellen White was “of God”? After the vision, she described what she had seen. Knowing that she had no background in astronomy, Bates said, “This is of the Lord.”


  • Obviously, what Bates heard corresponded to his knowledge of what telescopes showed in 1846. Almost certainly this vision was given in Bates’s presence to give him added confidence in Ellen White’s ministry. If she had mentioned the number of moons that modern telescopes reveal, it seems clear that Bates’s doubts would have been confirmed. MOL 490.9 – MOL 491.6



Critics have charged that Ellen White wrote in 1864 (and republished in 1870) that humans once cohabited with animals and that their offspring produced certain races that exist today. The statement reads: “But if there was one sin above another which called for the destruction of the race by the flood, it was the base crime of amalgamation of man and beast which defaced the image of God, and caused confusion everywhere. God purposed to destroy by a flood that powerful, long-lived race that had corrupted their ways before Him.”


No dictionary has ever used “amalgamation” to describe the cohabitation of man with beast. The primary use of the word describes the fusion of metals, the union of different elements such as in making tooth cements. Nineteenth-century usage included the mixing of diverse races.


Granted, her statement could appear ambiguous: Does she mean “amalgamation of man with beast” or “amalgamation of man and of beast”? Often, repetition of the preposition is omitted in similar construction.


On two other occasions, Mrs. White used the word “amalgamation.” She used it metaphorically, comparing faithful believers and worldlings. And she used it to describe the origin of poisonous plants and other irregularities in the biological world: “Christ never planted the seeds of death in the system. Satan planted these seeds when he tempted Adam to eat of the tree of knowledge which meant disobedience to God. Not one noxious plant was placed in the Lord’s great garden, but after Adam and Eve sinned, poisonous herbs sprang up…. All tares are sown by the evil one. Every noxious herb is of his sowing, and by his ingenious methods of amalgamation he has corrupted the earth with tares.”


Recognizing that Satan has been an active agent in the corrupting of God’s plan for man, beast, plants, etc., we can better understand what Ellen White may have meant when she described the results of amalgamation. That which “defaced the image of God” in man and that which “confused the species of animals” has been the handiwork of Satan with the cooperation of humans. Such “amalgamation of man and of beast, as may be seen in the almost endless varieties of species of animals, and in certain races of men,” becomes understandable. Mrs. White never hinted of subhuman beings or any kind of hybrid animal-human relationship. She did speak of “species of animals” and “races of men” but not any kind of amalgam of animals with human beings.


  • We recognize, however, that serious students of Ellen White’s writings differ on what she meant by “amalgamation.” “The burden of proof rests on those who affirm that Mrs. White gave a new and alien meaning to the term.” MOL 491.7 – MOL 492.4


Cause of Volcanoes

Some charge that Mrs. White’s statements regarding the cause of volcanoes reflected the myths and fanciful thinking of age-old theories. Her writings contain eight relevant concepts that have been debated since they first appeared in 1864. This list includes: (1) Formation of coal beds is linked to the Flood; (2) Coal produces oil; (3) Subterranean fires are fueled by the burning of both coal and oil; (4) Water added to the subterranean fires produces explosions, thus earthquakes; (5) Earthquake and volcanic action are linked together as products of these underground fires; (6) Both limestone and iron ore are connected with the burning coal beds and oil deposits; (7) Air is involved in the super heat; (8) Deposits of coal and oil are found after the subterranean fires have died out.


Though similarities exist between Mrs. White’s writings and John Wesley’s famous sermon, “The Cause and Cure of Earthquakes” (1750), there are striking differences. Contrary to earlier authors, one finds no trace in Ellen White’s writings of “eroding streams and violent winds; no vaulted cavities that collapsed and thus caused the Flood; no hollow caverns echoing with subterranean thunder; no fires fueled by underground stores of sulfur, naphtha, or niter. Viewed as a unit, her concept of subterranean fires is unique, and we search in vain to find it lent to her by a single human source.” The next question, of course, is whether one can find scientific confirmation for her “unique” views regarding these violent natural phenomena. Many theories abound as to the causes of volcanoes and earthquakes, and the formation of oil and coal. Most earth scientists base their ideas on the plate-tectonic theory. Nothing in Ellen White’s comments rules out that theory. Further, nothing in her writings states that all volcanoes are the product of burning coal fields or that all earthquakes are caused by subterranean fires. When she links earthquakes and volcanoes together, one immediately thinks of the Pacific Ocean “ring of fire” and its high potential for disasters from both.


  • However, notable scientists have confirmed Ellen White’s observations. Otto Stutzer’s Geology of Coal documented that “subterranean fires in coal beds are ignited through spontaneous combustion, resulting in the melting of nearby rocks that are classed as pseudo volcanic deposits.” Stutzer listed several examples of such activity, including “a burning mountain,” an outcrop that “lasted over 150 years,” and “the heat from one burning coal bed that was used for heating greenhouses in that area from 1837 to 1868.” Modern confirmation exists for the igniting of coal and oil with its sulfur constituent “seen around the eruptions of hot springs, geysers, and volcanic fumaroles.” References to rocks “which overlie the coal have suffered considerable alteration because of the fires, being sintered and partly melted,” correlate with Ellen White’s statement that “rocks are heated, limestone is burned, and iron ore melted.” Further research in the western United States has produced conclusions and language very similar to Mrs. White’s writings of a century earlier: “The melted rock resembles common furnace clinker or volcanic lava.” One last charge has been that melted iron ore is not found in connection with burning coal and oil deposits. However, a United States Geological Survey paper records the discovery of hematite (an iron ore) that had been “formed in some way through the agency of the burning coal.”


The suggestion that Ellen White was indebted to existing sources for her scientific information is without merit, because some of this verification only became known many years after her death. Further, “It is much more unlikely that she resorted to the published ideas of contemporary Creationists on the subject, since their views were relics of wild cosmological speculations.” MOL 492.5 – MOL 493.4





The following visions have been selected from approximately 2,000 dreams and visions. This selection was made of those visions that made a significant contribution to the development of Adventist theology and organization. Another list could be made solely of messages sent to individuals—messages that can be instructive to others who need similar counsel. (See Comprehensive Index to the Writings of Ellen G. White , vol. 3, pp. 2978-2984 for an extended list of Ellen White’s published visions, noting time, place, and topic.)


  1. (First vision) Portland, ME—December, 1844: Advent people on way to the Holy City ( Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 55-59, 107; Early Writings, 13-17; Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 64-68; Testimonies for the Church 1:58-61; Roger W. Coon, The Great Visions of Ellen G. White (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1992) pp. 15-23.


  1. Exeter, ME—1845: Jesus and Father move to Most Holy Place in 1844 ( Bio., vol. 1, pp. 78, 79, 107; Early Writings, 54-56).


  1. New Hampshire—1845: Encouraged Washington Morse regarding Jesus entering Most Holy Place in 1844 to finish the atonement ( Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 84-86; Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 77-79).


  1. Portland, ME—1845: Glory of new earth ( Bio., vol. 1, pp. 88, 89; Testimonies for the Church 1:67-71).


  1. Portland, ME—1845: Struck dumb, with the promise that in twenty-four hours she would speak; fifty Bible texts to give her encouragement ( Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 90, 91; Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 88-90).


  1. Carver, MA—1845: Jesus not to come until saints passed through “time of Jacob’s Trouble,” sparing Adventists another disappointment ( Bio., vol. 1, pp. 99, 100; A Word to the “Little Flock,” p. 22).


  1. Randolph, MA—1845: Nearly four hours, her longest vision, revealing bad motives and sad future of the dissemblers; holding the Thayer family Bible while reciting texts that she pointed to without visually seeing the pages ( Bio .,vol. 1, pp. 102-105; Coon, Great Visions ., pp. 25-37).


  1. On ocean off MA—1846: Heavy storm, assured that her party would not die, refuting prevailing accusation that her visions came only under mesmeric power (Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 108, 109; Early Writings, 23, 24).


  1. Topsham, ME—Nov. 1846: Vision of “other planets” and “open space” that had profound effect on Joseph Bates ( Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 113, 114; Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 97, 98).


  1. Topsham, ME—Apr. 3, 1847: Heavenly sanctuary, a reality; confirmation of seventh-day Sabbath and its decisive role in the last days ( Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 120, 121; Early Writings, 32-35; Coon, Great Visions , pp. 39-48). MOL 546 – MOL 546.12


  1. Dorchester, MA—Nov. 1848: Sealing work; duty to publish until “streams of light” are “clear round the world” ( Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 150, 151; Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 125, 126)


  1. Rocky Hill, CT—Dec. 16, 1848: Shaking of the powers of heaven; open space in Orion ( Bio ., vol. 1, p. 154; Early Writings, 41).


  1. Rocky Hill, CT—Jan. 5, 1849: Christ in Most Holy Place until plagues begin to fall ( Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 154-156; Early Writings, 36, 37).


  1. Topsham, ME—Mar. 24, 1849: “Mysterious knocking in New York” to become more common ( Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 159-161; Coon, Great Visions , pp. 49-61).


  1. Oswego, NY—Jan. 10, 1850: Present Truth must continue and James White must “write, write, write” ( Bio ., vol. 1, p. 172).


  1. Oswego, NY—1850: Exposed dishonesty of county treasurer and gave confidence to the Patches ( Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 174-176).


  1. Oswego, NY—Aug. 24, 1850: Enhanced prediction of worldwide influence of spiritualism ( Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 183, 184; Early Writings, 59, 60; Coon, Great Visions , pp. 49-61).


  1. Camden, NY—June 21, 1851: Preaching of Advent should never make time a test (Bio., vol. 1, p. 208; The Review and Herald, July 21, 1851).


  1. Rochester, NY—July 2, 1853: The Review should come out weekly; counsel to church groups in Michigan ( Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 281, 282; Early Writings, 93-96).


  1. Oswego, NY—Feb. 1854: Beginning of comprehensive health message ( Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 291, 292). MOL 546.13 – MOL 547.4


  1. Oswego, NY—June 20, 1854: Prediction that “Messenger” party would soon be in disarray ( Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 309-315).


  1. Battle Creek, MI—Nov. 20, 1855: Confirmation of Sabbath from “even to even” ( Bio ., vol. 1, p. 324; Testimonies for the Church 1:113-116).


  1. Battle Creek, MI—May 27, 1856: The Two Ways plus the three groups in attendance—worms, plagues, and alive at Advent ( Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 338, 339; Testimonies for the Church 1:127-140).


  1. Round Grove, IL—Dec. 9, 1856: The Waukon, Iowa, crisis ( Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 345-349; Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 160, 161).


  1. Hillsdale, MI—Feb. 1857: First vision that included Advent believers in Laodicean message ( Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 351, 35Testimonies for the Church 1:141-146).


  1. Battle Creek, MI—Nov. 20, 1857: Graphic presentation of the “shaking” ( Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 364, 365; Testimonies for the Church 1:179-184).


  1. Lovett’s Grove, OH—Mar. 14, 1858: The comprehensive Great Controversy vision with warning that Satan would try to greatly hinder Ellen White ( Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 368-375; Coon, Great Visions , pp. 62-75).


  1. Battle Creek, MI—late 1858: J. N. Andrews would develop a Bible study on tithing ( Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 387-389).


  1. Battle Creek, MI—June 3, 1859: Laodicean message not accomplished in a few months because it takes time to develop character ( Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 407; Testimonies for the Church 1:185-187).


  1. Battle Creek, MI—Dec. 23, 1860: Divine approval on organizational structure and name ( Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 437, 438; Testimonies for the Church 1:210-216).


  1. Parkville, MI—Jan. 12, 1861: Forecast of Civil War horror when most Americans thought otherwise; some families in audience would lose sons ( Bio ., vol. 1, pp. 462-464; Coon, Great Visions , pp. 76-89).


  1. Roosevelt, NY—Aug. 3-4, 1861: Church order, “straight chain of truth, harmonious connections,” deficit in Methodist sanctification compared to Biblical sanctification, and the impact of the Civil War on the church ( Bio ., vol. 1, p. 449; Testimonies for the Church 1:264-268; 26, 327).


  1. Battle Creek, MI—Jan. 4, 1862: Renewed insight on the real issues in the Civil War and its protracted length (Testimonies for the Church 1:253-268).


  1. Battle Creek, MI—Nov. 5, 1862: Situation regarding Moses Hull, a minister turned Spiritualist ( Bio ., vol. 2, pp. 53-58; Testimonies for the Church 1:426-437).


  1. Battle Creek, MI—1863: Counsel to young men and the Civil War draft ( Bio ., vol. 2, pp. 49-52).


  1. Battle Creek, MI—June 5, 1863: Satan works to lead ministers astray through unconsecrated wives (Testimonies for the Church 1:449-455).


  1. Otsego, MI—June 6, 1863: Comprehensive health reform ( Bio ., vol. 2, pp. 73-82; Counsels on Diet and Foods, 481-484; Coon, Great Visions , pp. 90-107).


  1. Rochester, NY—Dec. 25, 1865: Explanation for James’s illness and how crisis would pass; how to prepare for “latter rain”: dangers of self-reliance in debating ( Bio ., vol. 2, pp. 128-1Testimonies for the Church 1:613-628).


  1. Battle Creek, MI—Spring, 1867: Small portion of those who profess the truth will be saved (Testimonies for the Church 1:608).


  1. Battle Creek, MI—June 12, 1868: Remarkable counsel to several leaders; general comments about delay in Advent and how to prepare for it (Testimonies for the Church 2:156-199; Bio ., vol. 2, p. 245). MOL 547.5 – MOL 547.24


  1. Battle Creek, MI—Aug. 1868: Heavily loaded wagons ascending a road that narrows; finally, only the cords: God holds the cords ( Bio ., vol. 2, p. 247; Testimonies for the Church 2:594-597).


  1. Adams Center, MI—Oct. 25, 1868. Lengthy vision covering many people, especially strong counsel to ministry who profess without growing Christian experience (Testimonies for the Church 2:411-439, 498-522).


  1. Chicago, IL—July 6, 1870: Candid counsel to minister and wife who were spiritually unprepared for their duties (Testimonies for the Church 2:539-553).


  1. Battle Creek, MI—Apr. 30, 1871: Call for divine/human cooperation in all things; Testimonies provided to direct attention to Bible; Adventists are walled with light ( Bio ., vol. 2, pp. 317, 318).


  1. Bordoville, VT—Dec. 10, 1871: Extended counsel on character preparation; health reform is a vital component in preparing a people to meet the Lord ( Bio ., vol. 2, pp. 332, 3Testimonies for the Church 3:39-98; 61-188; 202-221).


  1. Santa Rosa, CA—April 1, 1874: Immense effectiveness of the press in proclaiming Adventist message; must take broader views—the whole world; deficiencies of ministers (Testimonies for the Church 3:434-467; Bio ., vol. 2, p. 408; Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 208-210).


  1. Battle Creek, MI—Jan. 3, 1875: (Last vision accompanied by physical phenomena.) To ministers and publishing houses in foreign lands, especially Australia (Testimonies for the Church 3:468-471, 560-575; 118-125, 227-254; Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 282, 283).


  1. Rome, NY—Sept. 12, 1875: Strong appeal for literature evangelism ( Bio ., vol. 2, pp. 480, 481; The Review and Herald, November 4, 1875).


  1. Battle Creek, MI—Oct. 9, 1878: Reproved husband James orally for publicly conflicting with Uriah Smith over “king of the north” and Smith’s belief that Armageddon was imminent; level of moral and intellectual culture expected at Battle Creek Sanitarium ( Bio ., vol. 3, pp. 96, 97; Testimonies for the Church 4:306-383).


  1. Battle Creek, MI—Oct. 23, 1879: Great day of God’s judgment; book of the sins of those who profess the truth, with selfishness being the general heading ( Bio ., vol. 3, pp. 122, Testimonies for the Church 4:384-387; Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 241-246). MOL 547.25 – MOL 548.8


  1. Battle Creek, MI—Nov. 23, 1879: Strong counsel to publishing houses; candid admonition to key leaders; Sabbath work, even in hospitals ( Bio ., vol. 3, pp. 128, 129; Testimonies for the Church 4:449-462, 537-544). MOL 548.9


  1. Portland, OR—June, 1884: (Probably the last open vision) Brother Raymond, a dissembler with what he considered “new light,” was seen as an example of how Satan works to unsettle confidence ( Bio ., vol. 3, pp. 253-259; Testimonies for the Church 5:289-297; Letter 19, 1884, cited in Selected Messages 3:86).


  1. Basel, Switzerland—February, 1887: Concerning Canright changing ships from Adventist Church to one that will not reach the harbor ( Bio ., vol. 3, pp. 360, 36Testimonies for the Church 5:571-573;).


  1. Healdsburg, CA—Summer, 1888: Unbelief and resistance to reproof (that had built up during her absence in Europe) which would make difficult her contribution at the General Conference in Minneapolis ( Bio ., vol. 3, pp. 385, 386).


  1. Minneapolis, MN—October, 1888: The resentful, divisive spirit of many revealed; even though most would not heed her messages, she must deliver them regardless ( Bio ., vol. 3, pp. 404-410).


  1. Salamanca, NY—Nov. 3, 1890: Worldly policy in Adventist institutions; wages and missionary spirit; council meeting regarding the philosophy of The American Sentinel ( Bio ., vol. 3, pp. 464-469, 478-482, 487, 488; Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 319-330; Selected Messages 2:193, 194;).


  1. Melbourne, Australia—Dec. 1891: Comprehensive vision regarding publishing work in Australia, with personal testimonies for several, including Mr. and Mrs. Faulkhead ( Bio ., vol. 4, pp. 50-56).
  2. Napier, NZ—Apr. 9, 1893: Caution to A. T. Jones that there are conditions to justification and sanctification (Selected Messages 1:377-382).


  1. Melbourne, Australia—Feb. 1894: Clear educational principles, especially the necessity to learn how to work (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 310-327).


  1. Granville, N.S.W.—July 29, 1894: Counsel to Battle Creek church, including the bicycle craze, appeal for Christlikeness; God will not do that which is human responsibility (Testimonies for the Church 5:48-80). MOL 548.10 – MOL 548.18


  1. Cooranbong, N.S.W.—July, 1898: Counsel regarding the selection of Sydney for site of publishing house ( Bio ., vol. 4, pp. 358-360).


  1. Newcastle, N.S.W.—Dec. 23, 1898: Clear presentation of elements of salvation and the key to successful Christian life ( Bio ., vol. 4, p. 373; The Review and Herald, April 11, 1899).


  1. Cooranbong, N.S.W.—July 1899: Specific counsel regarding Avondale Health Retreat ( Bio ., vol. 4, p. 439).


  1. Melbourne, Victoria—March 7, 1900: Strongly urged to return to America because she was “needed just now” ( Bio ., 4, p. 454).


  1. Cooranbong, N.S.W.—Jan. 1900: Counsel regarding erroneous theology (“Holy Flesh” error) and inappropriate worship practices ( Bio ., vol. 5, pp. 101-108, 112, 113; Selected Messages 2:37-39).


  1. On board the Moana , Sept. 9, 1900: Counsel regarding her role in Battle Creek; on guard against private interviews, enter no controversies, simply to give messages ( Bio ., vol. 5, p. 22).


  1. Elmshaven, CA—Feb. 16, 1901: Appeal for excellence; counsel on manufacturing health food (Testimonies for the Church 7:127-131).
  2. Elmshaven, CA—Apr. 30, 1901: Warning to Dr. J. H. Kellogg regarding overbuilding the new sanitarium ( Bio ., vol. 5, pp. 153, 154).


  1. Los Angeles, CA—Aug. 1901: Sanitariums should be established in southern California and away from cities (Testimonies for the Church 7:85, 86).


  1. Elmshaven, CA—Sept. 26, 1901: Not the time to expand to China and India; build up American institutions and then workers would be better prepared (Testimonies for the Church 8:87-89).


  1. Elmshaven, CA—Nov. 3, 1901: Work to be done in New York that will require fresh and creative methods; principles of effective evangelism spelled out (Testimonies for the Church 9:137-152).


  1. Elmshaven, CA—Oct. 13, 1902: Retired areas in southern California where buildings could be bought for sanitariums at less than original cost ( Bio ., vol. 5, p. 359).


  1. Elmshaven, CA—Oct. 19, 1902: God countermanded Ellen White’s counsel with a vision that saved the Southern Publishing Association ( Bio ., vol. 5, pp. 189-193).


  1. Oakland, CA—Mar. 30, 1903: Forthright counsel on coming “to our senses” and learning from the disastrous fires in Battle Creek ( Bio ., vol. 5, pp. 244-246).


  1. Elmshaven, CA—Summer 1903: Iceberg analogy and crucial counsel regarding how to handle the pantheism crisis ( Bio ., vol. 5, pp. 300-306; Selected Messages 1:201-208).


  1. Paradise Valley, CA—Summer, 1904: Selection of site for Paradise Valley Sanitarium and the confidence that water would be found by drilling ( Bio ., vol. 5, pp. 362-367).


  1. Washington, DC—May, 1905: Counsel to help A. T. Jones who did not see his danger ( Bio ., vol. 5, p. 414).


  1. Loma Linda, CA—Sept. 1, 1905: Ethnic groups must not separate into separate facilities ( Bio ., vol. 6, pp. 47-51).


  1. Loma Linda, CA—April 16, 1906: Buildings great and small fell to the ground, many lives lost, two days before San Francisco earthquake ( Bio ., vol. 6, pp. 79-88; Testimonies for the Church 9:92-96).


  1. Elmshaven, CA—Dec. 11, 1908: Counsel for the Mackins who believed that they had various spiritual gifts ( Bio ., vol. 6, pp. 171-174).


  1. Elmshaven, CA—July 5, 1912: Counsel regarding recreation, especially when “men and women, acting like children” seemed to forget their Christian responsibilities ( Bio ., vol. 6, pp. 370-373). MOL 548.20 – MOL 549.20



After finishing the biography of EGW, there’s something that I have noticed in my research. In every movement with people coming from different backgrounds and thought processes, without a unifying voice, we can only expect fragmentation. EGW was called by God to bring a unity to this discordant voices. Her writings rightly understood and used, bring in clear harmony on those subjects that seems to be splitting.


  • What we want is the spirit of Jesus. When we have this, we shall love one another. Here are the credentials that we are to bear: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. We need to pray more; and when we have Christ abiding in the soul, HIS SPIRIT IN ME WILL HARMONIZE WITH HIS SPIRIT IN YOU; and he who controls our minds, controls also the heavenly intelligences, and they co-operate with us. Then in every council you will have the PRESENCE of One mighty in counsel. Jesus will be there. There will be no contention, no strife, no stirring up of the worst passions of the heart. What we want is to find refuge in Jesus. What we want is to be converted: AND O, HOW I HAVE LONGED FOR THE CONVERTING POWER OF GOD TO GO THROUGH OUR ASSEMBLIES! 1888 903.10


2Chronicles 20:20

  • 20 And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his PROPHETS, so shall ye PROSPER


KJV Ephesians 4:11-13

  • 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, PROPHETS; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of CHRIST:

To read the whole small booklet, please click on the title below

The Messenger still Speaks – An Appeal to Common Sense

We miss a lot when we misunderstand the main reason for this special gift we have been given for the Church. God’s blessing be upon you all.


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