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This is an essay by Tom Norris regarding Ellen White. I have been debating on how she should be regarded. I have been thinking that she has been elevated too much. I have also wondered about certain things she said, if they carry truth or not.  Well, Tom Norris claims that the church has been taught wrong things about her.  The Essay Is Here

Here is the essay:

Today, Ellen White is very misunderstood by both her critics and her supporters. This is because the Seventh-day Adventist church has not been honest about her role or her theology. Not only did the White Estate suppress and hide thousands of her documents during most of the 20th century, they also deliberately misrepresented her theology, including the position about her doctrinal authority. Thus they have promoted Ellen White in a manner that she would never approve; one that is against the Protestant Hermeneutic and against the fundamentals of the Adventist Faith.

While Ellen White obviously had spiritual gifts, she was not like an Old Testament Prophet as the SDA's have taught, nor does she have any doctrinal authority as if she were an Apostle. Therefore, when the SDA's claim she is a TRUE PROPHET they are very misguided and wrong, and so too the critics that declare she is a FALSE PROPHET. So this exercise about trying to determine if she passes this contrived and fabricated test of a prophet is misguided, pointless and wrong.


The veneration of Ellen White and the embellishment of her as a Prophet was a creation of the Takoma Park apologists. The White Estate is especially guilty of promoting this heresy that none of the Adventist Pioneers, including Ellen White, would ever support. Consequently, the church is paying a horrible price for this fabrication and historical fraud. And until this great error is corrected, the SDA church will continue to self-destruct.

The attitude of the Pioneers towards the writings of Ellen White was vastly different from that held by the 20th century Adventists. In fact, if anyone in the 19th century claimed that her writings represented an inspired commentary on the Bible, or that she had doctrinal authority, Ellen White and the other leaders would have strongly rebuked them. None of the Adventist Pioneers would have ever approved of such a position that was relentlessly promoted by the White Estate.

The Adventist Movement was Protestant. Therefore, the Pioneers made it clear that only the Bible is the correct source for doctrinal truth. In fact, they prohibited Ellen White's writings from being viewed as an authoritative source of doctrine. Which is the exact opposite of how the White Estate promoted Ellen White during the entire 20th century.

Listen to the Adventist Pioneers on this point:

Every Christian is therefore duty bound to take the Bible as a perfect rule of faith and duty. He should pray fervently to be aided by the Holy Spirit in searching the Scriptures for the whole truth, and for his whole duty. He is not at liberty to turn from them to learn his duty through any of the gifts. We say the very moment he does, he places the gifts in a wrong place, and takes an extremely dangerous position. (James White, Review & Herald, October 3, 1854)

To be sure, there was always a class of persons that wanted to skip the Bible and use Ellen White as a shortcut to truth. There was always a cultic group that became so enamored with Ellen White's spiritual gifts and writings that they wanted to make her into an authoritative source for doctrine and a test of church fellowship. Especially towards the very end of the 19th century and even more so in the 20th century.

But James White repudiated this great error in no uncertain terms. Thus he would have never approved of how a number of people in Battle Creek, after his death, viewed Ellen White (like Irwin, Haskell, and others.) Nor would he have approved how the 20th century leaders promoted Ellen White and made her into an infallible source of doctrinal authority, especially after her death. James White would have hotly condemned the White Estate for the way they promoted Ellen White and he would have demanded that they repent and set the record straight.

Listen to James White on this point:

There is a class of persons who are determined to have it that the Review and its conductors make the view of Mrs. White a Test of doctrine and Christian fellowship. What has the Review to do with Mrs. W.’s views? The sentiments published in its columns are all drawn from the Holy Scriptures. No writer of the Review has ever referred to them as authority on any point. The Review for five years has not published one of them. Its motto has been, The Bible and the Bible alone, the only rule of faith and duty…

It should be here understood that all these views as held by the body of Sabbath-keepers, were brought out from the Scriptures before Mrs. W. had any view in regard to them. These sentiments are founded upon the Scriptures as their only basis. (James White, Review and Herald, Oct. 16 1855)

This is how the great SDA Pioneer and founder James White viewed his wife's gifts. They were NOT doctrinal in nature, nor where they to be used in place of the Bible. They were NOT even the basis for any SDA doctrine or belief. And he invited anyone to correct him if he ever abandoned the Bible as the sole rule of faith and doctrine and looked to some new revelation instead. Listen to James White again:

Every Christian is therefore duty bound to take the Bible as a perfect rule of faith and duty. He should pray fervently to be aided by the Holy Spirit in searching the Scriptures for the whole truth, and for his whole duty. He is not at liberty to turn from them to learn his duty through any of the gifts. We say the very moment he does, he places the gifts in a wrong place, and takes an extremely dangerous position. (James White, Review & Herald, October 3, 1854)

Now we shall go right along believing and teaching the word of the Lord. This is our business. And if we choose to believe Mrs. W.'s views, which harmonize with the Word, this is our business, and nobody else’s. But if we should leave the word, and look for a rule of faith and duty by some new revelation, then it would be the business of the Church to silence me as a religious teacher. (James White, Gifts of the Gospel Church, p.14)

In fact, while the 20th century church incorrectly promoted Ellen White as an authority for doctrine, and even made belief in her a part of their written fundamental creed in 1980, the Battle Creek SDA's did not do this. Belief in Ellen White was not a test of fellowship, nor was she promoted as such. Listen again to James White on this test point in 1871:

They (SDA's) believe in the perpetuity of spiritual gifts. They believe that the spirit of prophecy has rested upon Mrs. White, and that she is called to do a special work at this time, among this people. They do not, however, make belief in this work a test of fellowship. (Review and Herald, June 13, 1871)

Uriah Smith, the longtime Editor of the Review was also in agreement with the Protestant position of the Battle Creek SDA's. Listen to him make the same point as James White:

The Protestant principle of the Bible and the Bible alone, is of itself good and true; and we stand upon it as firmly as anyone can; but when reiterated in connection with outspoken denunciations of the visions, it has specious appearance for evil. So used, it contains a covert insinuation, most effectually calculated to warp the judgment of the unguarded, that to believe the visions is to leave the Bible, and to cling to the Bible, is to discard the visions. . . . When we claim to stand on the Bible and the Bible alone, we bind ourselves to receive, unequivocally and fully, all that the Bible teaches. Uriah Smith, Editor, Review and Herald, Jan. 13, 1863

Ellen White was also in full agreement with her husband and Uriah Smith. She never claimed to have doctrinal authority as the SDA church teaches today. She was a Protestant, and therefore she understood and upheld the Bible as the only rule of faith and doctrine. Listen to Ellen White on this point:

When God's Word is studied, comprehended, and obeyed, a bright light will be reflected to the world; new truths, received and acted upon, will bind us in strong bonds to Jesus. The Bible, and the Bible alone, is to be our creed, the sole bond of union; all who bow to this Holy Word will be in harmony. Our own views and ideas must not control our efforts. Man is fallible, but God's Word is infallible. Instead of wrangling with one another, let men exalt the Lord. Let us meet all opposition, as did our Master, saying, It is written. Let us lift up the banner on which is inscribed; The Bible our rule of faith and discipline. Ellen White, Review and Herald, Dec. 15, 1885.

We must study to find out the best way in which to take up the review of our experiences from the beginning of our work, when we separated from the churches, and went forward step by step in the light that God gave us. We then took the position that the Bible, and the Bible only, was to be our guide; and we are never to depart from this position. We were given wonderful manifestations of the power of God. (Lt 105, 1903. 31)

But God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms. (The Great Controversy, p. 595)

The words of the Bible, and the Bible alone, should be heard from the pulpit. (Prophets and Kings, p. 626).

Many from among our own people are writing to me, asking with earnest determination the privilege of using my writings to give force to certain subjects that they wish to present to the people in such a way as to leave a deep impression upon them. It is true that there is a reason why some of their matters should be presented; but I would not venture to give my approval in using the Testimonies in this way, or to sanction the placing of matter, which is good in itself in the way which they propose. (Ellen White to Brother Littlejohn, Aug. 3, 1894)

Don’t you quote Sister White. I don’t 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, full of fatness. Carry it right out in your life, and you will know more Bible than you know now. (Spaulding-Magan Collection, p. 174).

The testimonies of Sister White should not be carried to the front. God’s Word is the unerring standard. The Testimonies are not to take the place of the Word.... Let all prove the positions from the Scriptures and substantiate every point they claim as truth from the revealed Word of God. (Evangelism, p. 256)

The Bible is our rule of faith and doctrine. (Gospel Workers, p. 249)

Believers are not to rest in suppositions and ill-defined ideas of what constitutes truth. Their faith must be firmly founded upon the Word of God. (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 708).

Today the SDA church officially teaches that Ellen White has doctrinal authority. This is part of their creed that was developed at Glacier View in 1980. But not only is this against the fundamentals of the Protestant Faith, it is also against the teachings of Ellen White and the Pioneers. In fact, not only do the Adventist Pioneers not support this false hermeneutic, they also do not support any written creed whatsoever.

Listen to James White, in1861, repudiate the notion of a creed and declare that such a position is against the doctrine of Spiritual Gifts:

On the subject of creeds, I agree with Brother Loughborough. I never weighed the points, which he has presented, as I have since I began to examine the subject myself. In Ephesians 4: 11-13, we read; And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets, et cetera. Here we have the gifts of the church presented. Now 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 believe on this point and the other, and just what we shall do in reference to this thing and that, and say that we will believe the gifts, too. {1BIO 454.1}

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. {1BIO 454.2}

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. Ibid. {1BIO 454.3}

But the SDA's in the 20th century have repudiated their founders, and promoted a written creed called the 28 Fundamentals. Including number 18 that gives Ellen White doctrinal authority. But neither she nor any Adventist Pioneer would accept this creed. Thus the modern Adventists have repudiated her position that The Bible, and the Bible alone, is to be our creed. (Selected Messages Vol. 1, p. 416)

For generations, the SDA's have been dishonestly promoting creedal doctrines about hermeneutics, and many other things, that have no support from Ellen White or the Pioneers.

Listen to Dr. Ford correctly explain how to view Ellen White. Not as a prophet or an Apostle, but as someone who had the gifts of the Spirit as taught by the New Testament:

In the Glacier View manuscript and in The Adventist Crisis of Spiritual Identity, I have discussed the role of E.G. White at great length. She had the gift of prophecy spoken of in l Corinthians 14 which is not identical with that of the canonical writers of Scripture (see l Cor. 14:29 and l Thess. 5:19-21 for clear statements that the gift in our day—since the completion of the canon—is not infallible). Ellen White never claimed infallibility and her writings should be studied as those of a great church leader and pastor but not as a Bible.

Yes, it was my supposed threat to Ellen White that contributed to the Glacier View debacle. I have highly valued the writings of Ellen White since my first encounter with them. But for the last fifty years, I have accepted her own warnings that her writings were not to be used as Scripture and that the Bible—and the Bible only—is our source of doctrine. Were she living today, she would say the same thing as she said during the long theological debate over the daily (see SM, vol. 1, pp. 164ff). During that debate, she told the brethren not to use her statements but to go to the Bible.

Dr. Ford has also correctly said that #18 of the Fundamental SDA creed needs to be revised:

Article 18, The Gift of Prophecy: This needs rewording. The gift of prophecy has always been in the church and was not reserved just for the remnant yet to be developed. If I remember rightly, our early pioneers, including the Whites, interpreted Revelation 19:10 more broadly than we have in recent decades. I think the word, authoritative, should be removed as it implies infallibility, which Ellen White rejected. (Ibid)

After the death of Ellen White, the Takoma Park White Estate incorrectly embellished and elevated the role and authority of Ellen White far beyond anything what the Adventist Pioneers envisioned or allowed. Listen to the White Estate double-talk about Ellen White.

Her inspiration is equal in quality to the inspiration of the Bible, but the function and purpose of Ellen White's inspiration is different from that of the Bible. A parallel is found in Scripture. The prophet Nathan was as fully inspired as King David, but Nathan's inspiration had a different function from David's. David's inspired writings became a part of the canon of Scripture. Nathan's inspiration did not result in any canonical writings.

But this comparison of Ellen White with an OT prophet is absurd. It has no NT basis. Ellen White did not live in the OT but only in the NT era. So there can be no such comparison. And it is even more absurd to say that she is like Nathan the prophet, because he was inspired but did not author any writings. Why? Because, unlike Nathan, Ellen White wrote thousands of pages of so called inspired writings. So she was not like the pen less Nathan at all, but more like David, who wrote lots of scripture! So this makes no sense.

The White Estate goes on to say that;

One cannot make differences in the quality of inspiration because inspiration is either present or absent, so that various manifestations of it cannot be distinguished by degrees. The Holy Spirit was just as careful in the superintendence of Nathan's inspired messages as in David's writings, although, in harmony with the divine purpose, only the latter were incorporated into the canon. (The truth About the White Lie, by the White Estate, cited above)

However, since when is the Protestant Hermeneutic confused about inspiration? This is nonsense. Ellen White has no authority about doctrine; regardless of how much INSPIRATION she was given. It doesn't matter if she had a vision every hour on the hour. She has zero doctrinal authority. Her quality of inspiration is not like that of the Old Testament Prophets or the NT Apostles and therefore it can never be like those who ALONE have doctrinal authority for the church.

Thus the whole argument by the SDA denomination is silly, illogical, and against the Protestant Hermeneutic. Ellen White does NOT have any doctrinal authority. She is NOT a PROPHET as they claim, nor is she inspired like the OT prophets or the Apostles. Therefore she does not write scripture, or anything close to it. The fact that she had genuine spiritual gifts, as delineated in the NT, in no way makes her inspiration like that of anyone who wrote scripture. The White Estate is guilty of deceiving generations of SDA's about Ellen White and Adventist hermeneutics and they should be ashamed of themselves.

It is time for the White Estate to confess this nonsense that they have taught for so long. Ellen White would not approve of what they teach about her. They have misled and deceived the Adventist Community about all this for generations, and it has had a devastating effect upon the church.

But to this very day, the SDA's refuse to tell the truth about Ellen White. Rather, they continue to double-talk and play word games. Thus, when cornered about Ellen White they say:

Ellen White's writings do not function as a standard or rule for doctrine. The Bible does function in this manner. In this sense Ellen White does not have equal doctrinal authority with the Bible.

So in essence the White Estate claims that Ellen White has the same inspiration as the bible writers, but not the same authority. How does that work? It does not work. It is semantics and word games. Because the moment one admits that Ellen White has scriptural like inspiration, then it logically follows that her writings must also be authoritative like the Bible. Even becoming an inspired commentary on scripture. Which is what the SDA's actually teach.

Listen to Morris Venden say exactly that, with the full approval of the White Estate:

There is hope for every remnant believer today who sometimes feels confused at all the differing views taken by different scholars and commentaries. We have that which was given for the purpose of settling the disagreements among the uninspired commentaries. What do you do when the scholars disagree? Do you have to become a better scholar than the best in order to settle the disagreement in your own mind? No, let me repeat. God has given to our church an inspired commentary to settle the disagreements among the uninspired commentaries. And we can still be thankful for that today. (Morris Venden, The Pillars, p. 30, 1980)

In fact, the church is on record as officially claiming that Ellen White has doctrinal authority. This is what was proclaimed at Glacier View and this is what they proclaim in their creed, which was approved at the General Conference Session in Dallas in 1980. Here is a portion of the official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs that was adopted:

One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White. As the Lord's messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth, which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested. (Statement of Fundamental Beliefs, 1980)

So there it is for all to see. In spite of their double-talk, the SDA's clearly teach that Ellen White's writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth. Therefore, they are guilty of a great hermeneutical deception, as well as an historical one. The real Ellen White, and all the Pioneers, repudiates this nonsense. It is not true or valid and no one should be taken in by the dishonest and self-serving White Estate. Only when the church changes their present position about Ellen White can the Adventist Church become a credible Protestant denomination. Until then they are a confused and dishonest cult.

It should be noted that at the end of her life, Ellen White predicted exactly what would happen to her reputation and why. Not only have legions denounced her as a false prophet, as she predicted, but they have done so because her testimony has been misrepresented by the church in such a manner as to change what she called the truth of God into a lie. Thus, many minds, of both her supporters and her critics, have been deceived and misled about Ellen White's status and authority. Which is why there is a useless and endless debate over whether she is a false or true prophet. She is not a Prophet at all, at least not like the White Estate has promoted.

Listen to Ellen White make what has to be one of her greatest predictions. There can be little doubt that she was correct. In fact, she hit a prophetic bulls eye by saying:


The facts are clear that once in Takoma Park, the denomination turned Ellen White into a posthumous theological genie in a bottle that supported their every whim. They made her into a prophet like Joseph Smith or Mary Baker Eddy and used her as a celebrity for marketing purposes to gain members as well as to control and manipulate the members.

Although they made it seem like they were honestly representing Ellen White, they were deceiving the people as they deliberately misrepresented her theology, suppressing her true position about hermeneutics and other important points as well as hiding her most damning reproofs to the leaders deep in the White Estate vaults. Thus, the leaders have horribly deceived the Adventist Community about Ellen White's role and authority, as well as her theology about many other things. And they are still doing it today.

The SDA organization has been very dishonest about Ellen White. Arthur White has done more harm and damage to her reputation then all the critics combined. And at some point the Adventist Community needs to hold the White Estate accountable for what they have done. More than that, they need to understand the real Ellen White and stop this silly and useless debate about whether she a true or false prophet.

Ellen White is not a prophet in the sense that SDA's were taught. While she has great authority in the church as a leader and co-founder, she has no doctrinal authority and her writings are not canonical. The fact that she had spiritual gifts as taught in the NT does not make her into an Old Testament prophet who wrote scripture, much less into an Apostle with doctrinal authority for the church.

Ellen White understood the Protestant Faith and she never thought her writings were on a par with scripture or that she had any doctrinal authority. In fact, she was wrong about a number of theological points, and thus had to change her position about the Sabbath, the Law, and the Gospel. But the White Estate has failed to explain or promote these historical facts. Even as they have failed to explain that neither her powerful husband James White or the other Battle Creek Adventists gave her doctrinal authority. The White Estate is guilty of promoting serious historical and theological error in this matter

I hope that this answer helps both the supporters and critics of Ellen White to better understand the issues. Everyone needs to stop pursuing these diversionary, false, and irrelevant issues about Ellen White that interfere with the true and legitimate issues about Adventist theology.

Tom Norris, for All & Adventist

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No problem, MsMS. We are indeed in agreement. Great statements posts!
She becomes elevated too much when people begin using her writings as an official authorative translation of God's Word.They should be looking to God's Word for answers not her writings.



May I suggest another conclusion.


The Bible is #1 and Ellen White's writtings are #1.  This is like happened in the legal world, when technology provided avenues of communication never dreamed of before. 

E.g. A signature was only valid if the paper that had the ink on it that the signature was created with, was present. I.e. The original document. 


Then they started allowing fax copies of the original document to be considered as valid.  Now, as I understand, scanned copies transmitted by e-mail is valid in some situations. 


Now, which is the most valid, the original document or one scanned into a computer and e-mailed?  Whether it is an original, a fax copy or a scanned e-mail copy the important thing is that nothing was changed in the process. 


Even original documents can be signed with "invisible ink" and after a while the signature will fade and disappear, which can not happened with a fax copy.  Signatures can be altered and substituted with e-mail. 


Which boils down to what the information is, not the form in which it is transmitted or recorded.  IF God chooses to communicate to, say, Moses: is that any more of an original then God speaking to Ellen White or to me or to you? 


We are, and rightly so, hesitante to take modern day manifestations of God's leading.  This is why we are given the test in Isaiah 8:20 to be sure that the "spirit" that speaks to us is in fact the Holy Spirit and not the god of this world.  If any message, even from myself, is in complete harmoy with the Bible in every way, then God has spoken through me.  However, if there is a discrepency between what I or any other human being might say and what the Bible says, then the Bible must, must, must be the ultimate authority.


Maranatha :)




 Very true, Ray. 

If the dreams and visions come from God they carry all the weight that the same does any other time.

If they do not then the prophet is a false prophet.

People are trying to do the same today regarding Mrs. Ellen G. White as some do with Christ. They say he was a good man but not God. They say she was a good woman but not a prophet or only half a prophet. She said her work was more than that of a prophet. She was either fully a prophet  or fully a liar. It is perfectly clear in my mind that she was fully a prophet and a true prophet and therefore I fully except the prophet's work because it is Christ's work. 

" Likewise, he (Satan) works through persons who have been reproved for some inconsistency in their religious life, for some course of action which was dangerous to themselves and others. Instead of receiving the testimony as a blessing from God, they refuse the means God uses to set them right. Such apparently may be very zealous for God, but they put their own interpretation upon the Word and make it contradict what the Lord has revealed in the testimonies. They think they are doing God's service, but such work God has not given them to do.  {10MR 311.2} 

Just a passing warning here: To say that “There is nothing in her [EGW’s] writings that are in opposition to the Bible, nothing.” is not entirely accurate as there are several “honest mistakes”, most due to EGW’s incomplete understanding of certain Biblical topics, found in her writings. If you can see e.g., several examples in the book by Alden Thompson, Inspiration, pp. 290-295ff (Review and Herald Publishing). These mistakes are only seen in her non “I was shown statements/comments. That however do not say anything against the SOP as Bible prophets also made similar mistakes (see e.g, Samuel (1 Sam 16:6, 7) and Nathan (2 Sam 7:1-17)). Hope this helps!

sorry too much to read today

EGW only looked to elevate Christ

Too much to read?  Then, why did you dig this up, from March 2011?

I highly recommend these sermons.  Cleared up any issues I had about E.G. White.

I “highly” second that recommendation!! Mark Howard has (indeed) done some great work and series on the SOP/EGW.  See a listing of these series of his, and several other SDA’s in here:


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