Part I and Part 2
Sligo Series, Oct. 22 and 29, 1980
[Because of time limitations, not all of the following
material was presented during this series. All of the research
was completed by the date indicated. Additional editing was done
March 1986 and April 1994]
In late 1898, G. A. Irwin, president of the General
Conference, wrote Mrs. White describing the campmeetings then
being held within the United States. In noting the "unusual
degree of the spirit and blessing of the Lord, "Irwin told Mrs.
White, who was then in Australia, that the "most spiritually-minded" leaders were sent to conduct the meetings. Those named
were Mrs. S. M. I. Henry, A. F. Ballenger, William Sadler, and J.
A. Brunson. The only problem was that all, at that time, had
already begun the path that Mrs. White would later define as "mystical," "spiritualistic," "pantheistic", and subversive to the
fundamentals of the church.
Within a decade, three of the four names by Irwin would be actively
working against the church. A score of others involved in the
movement known as the "Receive Ye the Holy Ghost" movement would
likewise leave and work against the church. Those who were left
were regarded as the most dynamic preachers and leaders within the
The question to resolve is why did this happen? I would
suggest that an important reason relates to their mistaken
concepts of the role of the gift of prophecy within the church and
the disunity that erupted within the church over those concepts of
the role of Ellen White. The evidence I have examined spans the
decade 1896 to approximately 1906 and illustrates the truth of the
following Ellen White statement found in Volume 5 of the
Testimonies, p. 654:
"As the end draws near and the work of giving the last
warning to the world extends, it becomes more important for those
who accept the present truth to have a clear understanding of the
nature and influence of the Testimonies, which God in His
providence has linked with the work of the third angel's message
from its very rise."[EGW, 5T, 654]
Please observe that Mrs. White is not raising a question
relating to the importance of believing the Testimonies, but
rather one of understanding their "nature and influence."
I would suggest that this counsel is vitally relevant to us
I suggest that the work of
Ellen White within the church was intended to be a corporate or
cooperative experience and that by assigning to her roles that
were designed to be the responsibility of the corporate body, or
by failing to fulfill those roles that were the responsibility of
the corporate body [the church], we might have rendered the gift
of prophecy irrelevant in certain areas that I consider should be
vitally relevant today. I am really suggesting that we have not
taken the writings of Ellen White seriously enough since we have
been content with quick, ready answers to complex question by
relying on a phrase or two, usually taken without understanding
the contextual situation she was addressing. By a corporate
approach to understanding the gift of prophecy, I am not
suggesting that we all, in a sense, have the spirit of prophecy,
but rather that the church as a whole is involved in the process
of understanding how God blessed the church with this gift. There
were many examples when Ellen White was shown things in vision
that she, herself, did not understand and hoped that church
leadership would understand.
In considering the history of our church during the last 25
years of Mrs. White's life, I wish to center upon three major
contributions of the gift of prophecy that I believe have deep
relevance to us today. The list is selective and many additional
contributions could be enumerated.
1. Mrs. White sought to create an atmosphere where
understanding of the balance between law and the gospel would
prevail. In other words, she worked to create the conditions for
the receptivity of the message that was designed to prepare the
world for return of Jesus. Notice that I am not saying that Mrs.
White gave us the message, or the fullest understanding of the
balance between law and gospel, but that she sought to prepare the
church to perceive that message.
2. She provided counsel that was designed to avoid the
fanaticism and false revivals that were then current within the
church and related those issues to past and future errors that
seek entrance into the church in the last days.
3. She gave long-term counsel relative to the resolving of
theological disputes, especially when those disputes involved or
seemed to involve her writings.
I expect to deal essentially with the initial two points in
this first meeting and with the third at the next meeting.
I think we will recognize that we have not fully benefited
from these contributions of Mrs. White that I consider major.
1. We are not united in our understanding of the balance
between the law and the gospel. In other words, we are not united
in our understanding of the plan of salvation.
2. We are not prepared to recognize the subtleties of the
deceptions that would be similar, but more devious than those
faced during the pantheism crisis, 1896 to 1906.
3. We don't practice the counsel given concerning doctrinal
controversies that involve Mrs. White's writings.
If this analysis is correct, or partially correct, we must
ask ourselves "Why?"
Also, if it is correct, or partially correct, it means that
we have rendered the gift of prophecy of less than full value to
us in areas that I believe were significant contributions of Mrs.
Here's another "I would suggest." We have varying
understandings of the role for the writings of Ellen White that
fit into two broad categories that a layman like myself might
consider as "exegetical" and "non-exegetical" functions of Ellen
EXEGETICAL: Strict exposition of Biblical passages that lead
to a final conclusion of the meaning of those passages. How we
get to a theological conclusion. I believe this is the corporate
responsibility of the church and was not designed to be the
function of Ellen White.
NON-EXEGETICAL: Any other Ellen White roles fit here. For my
purpose they are better defined by illustration: "John Harvey
Kellogg teaches 'pantheism,'" "Albion Ballenger mystifies the
gospel," "William Prescott has truth mixed with error," etc.
These non-exegetical functions often represent a conclusion, but
do not outline the theological route to the conclusion. In other
words they don't resolve the theological problems of Kellogg,
Ballenger or Prescott; the theological resolution of those
problems was left to Kellogg, Ballenger and Prescott—and to the
I believe that both exegetical role and non-exegetical
functions are vital to fully solidify a conclusion. I suggest
that the exegetical role was not intended for the gift of prophecy
and that throughout out history, the Lord intended a cooperative
relationship between Ellen White and the church and that those who
have attempted to place exegetical responsibilities upon the gift
of prophecy have paid a heavy price personally and cost the church
Ellen White and the Law-Gospel Interrelationship
As we read the history of our denomination, we cannot help
but to be impressed with the warfare of Satan to subvert the
message that God intends for the world to receive—that delicate
relationship between the law and the gospel.
Notice Mrs. White's statement about the death of her husband:
[James White died Aug. 6, 1881]
"At times I felt that I could not have my husband die....We
had designed to devote the coming winter to writing. My husband
had said, 'Let us not be turned aside from our purpose. I think
we have made a mistake, in allowing the apparent wants of the
cause and the earnest entreaties of our brethren to urge us into
active labor in preaching when we should have been writing. While
our mental powers are unimpaired, we should complete our
contemplated books. I design to arrange my business affairs, go
to the Pacific Coast and devote the winter months to writing. It
is a duty to which we owe to ourselves and to the cause of God to
rest from the heat of battle and to give to our people the
precious light of truth which God has opened to our minds. I feel
assured there is a crisis before us. We should preserve our
physical and mental powers for future service. The glorious
subject of Redemption should long ago have been more fully
presented to the people; but I have allowed myself to be called
into the field, to attend camp-meetings, and have become so worn
that I could not engage in writing,'" [Ellen White, "A Sketch of
Experience," in In Memoriam: A Sketch of the Last Sickness and
Death of Elder James White, pp. 54-5.]
A decade after her husband's death, Mrs. White made this
significant statement relating to law-gospel interrelationship:
"We must look more to the presentation of God's love and
mercy to move the hearts of the people. We must have a sense of
both the justice and mercy of God. Those who can blend together
the law of God and the mercy of God can reach any heart. For
years I have seen that there is a broken link which has kept us
from reaching hearts; this link is supplied by presenting the love
and mercy of God. There has been a sentiment creeping in that we
should not present the claims of the Sabbath so strong. Why not?
Is it not true that the man of sin is raising up the counterfeit
and undermining the law of God, and should we not raise up the
standard against him?"[Ellen White at Council of Presidents
Meeting, March 3, 1891.] [This statement by itself presents an interesting picture of
the way inspiration was operating upon Mrs. White. It appears to
relate to the vision given her at Salamanca, New York, in 1891,
but she would remember it in 1905 and see in the Ballenger attack
an attack upon all the fundamentals of the church.]
Mrs. White, on a number of occasions, equated this law-gospel
balance issue to understanding the relationship between the
commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. She affirmed, "This
is the law and the gospel." As she addressed herself to the
erroneous doctrinal incursions, she likewise would relate to that
balance. Notice these statements she made in relationship to the
"The pleasing sentiments of pantheism will lead many souls
into forbidden paths....The last testimony published opens to our
people the danger of these theories, and the testimonies published
in the future will urge still more strongly the necessity of
lifting up and carrying high the banner on which are inscribed the
words, "The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." God's
people are to let no one take this banner from their hands." [Ellen
White, "A Warning Against Deceptive Teaching,"June 23, 1904, in
WCW bk. 29, p 703] [The "forbidden paths" Mrs. White was referring to related to
the "strained views of sanctification" then embraced within the
Mrs. White also had written: "There is a strain of
spiritualism coming in among our people, and it will undermine the
faith of those who give place to it, leading them to give heed to
seducing spirits and doctrines of devils."
She clearly connected the Living Temple theology with
false claims of sanctification and often alluded to "the wrong
theories which in the past have been met many times and in many
places," and observed: "The sanctification that they claim is
polluted by the most seductive sin, which in their estimation is
righteousness. This corrupting, spiritualistic view of matters is
blinding the spiritual eyesight....Men who are supposed to be
helping have deficient spiritual eyesight. Some things may be
said which appear to be excellent. The fruit may apparently be
fair and beautiful, without a flaw, but break the apples open, and
we see the work of destruction going on at the core."
Listen to this dire prophecy and consider the need to prepare
for it [In this sense, we are to do the "exegetical" work of
analysis: "Satan will continue to bring in his erroneous theories
and to claim that his sentiments are true. Seducing spirits are
at work. I am to meet the danger positively, denying the right of
any one to use my writings to serve the devil's purpose to allure
and deceive the people of God. God has spared my life that I may
present the testimonies given me, to vindicate that which God
vindicates, and to denounce every vestige of Satan's sophistry.
One thing will follow another in spiritual sophistry, to deceive
if possible the very elect." [Ellen White, "Dear Brethren and
Sisters in the South," Jan. 22, 1904, p 2, 11; Ellen White, "A
Warning Against Present Dangers," Nov. 27, 1903, pp 2, 7.]
Certain of Mrs. White's statements made at the 1901 General
Conference session are of extreme importance when seen in this
contextual setting. Here's what she wrote Kellogg:
"Before I went to the  General Conference, I was
instructed that I could help you. The Lord told me that I must
bear my testimony at this meeting against the incorrect ideas that
had been coming in regard to forbearance and Christlikeness
[sanctification]. My work was to present the standard of
Christianity that had been presented to me. As one with God-given
authority, I was to bear my message against the wrong
principles that had been coming in." [Ellen White to Kellogg,
Nov. 11, 1902]
Again notice: Here is Ellen White giving Kellogg a message
from the Lord. Even though that message is of considerable
importance, however, it was not designed to resolve Kellogg's need
to himself struggle over where he was wrong. He needed, with the
help of his brethren, to resolve that problem exegetically.
Here's a statement recently released [in 1908] Ellen White is
here writing A. G. Daniells, Dec. 14, 1903:
"There is another
matter upon my mind about which I must speak to you. I have often
been warned against overstrained ideas of sanctification. They
lead to an objectionable feature of experience that will swamp us,
unless we are wide-awake.
"Extreme views of sanctification which lead men to criticize
and condemn their brethren are to be feared and shunned.
"During the General Conference of 1901, the Lord warned me
against sentiments that were then held by Brethren Prescott and
Waggoner. These sentiments have been as leaven put into meal.
Many minds have received them. The ideas of some regarding a
great experience supposed to be sanctification have been the alpha
of a train of deception. [This statement clearly has significance
in relation to her later expression connecting J H Kellogg with an
"Omega" kind of apostasy]
"If ever there was a time when our brethren should blend in
unity it is now." [Notice her connection between false views and
unity. If Satan can foment disunity during times of theological
aberration, his victory is just about assured.]
Consider the "exegetical" possibilities from the previous
statement. Ellen White has received information from the Lord
that Kellogg was upon a false path. The interrelationship between
the law and the gospel was being upset by "overstrained ideas of
The interest regarding these statements regarding 1901 and
the importance upon unity heightens when we consider another
matter. At the 1903 conference, both W. W. Prescott and E J
Waggoner sought a meeting with Mrs. White for the purpose of
presenting a new view of the "daily," of Dan 8:13. This new view
had been the generally accepted view in Europe probably since
1898, but seemed to conflict with a statement in Early Writings.
W. C. White would later assert that Mrs. White "was
instructed" not to listen to those views of Prescott and Waggoner
because they were "mingled with views that were misleading." We
recall from the previous testimony, that both Prescott and
Waggoner held "extreme views of sanctification." This seems to be
very close to Mrs. White's reaction when A F Ballenger presented
his sanctuary views in 1905. Note again, however, that in neither
case did Ellen White dispute the theological issues presented.
In 1901, on the contrary, she suggested that Waggoner and
Prescott present their views on the "daily" to Uriah Smith and get
his opinion. I don't believe Mrs. White even considered that her
Early Writings statement should be used to resolve the issue, and
in fact, she later urged that it not be so used.
It seems that Mrs. White always left to the church the
corporate responsibility of Biblical exegesis.
Notice how Prescott reacted to this 1901 experience, as
Daniells relates his reading of Mrs. White's statement to
"I have read with care what you say regarding the question of
sanctification as presented in the statements by Brethren Prescott
and Waggoner at the General Conference of 1901. I have read this
to Brother Prescott, and talked with him freely regarding the
matter. I can not fully grasp all that there seems to be in this
matter from your brief reference to it. Brother Prescott says he
can see very clearly the dangerous path he and Brother Waggoner
were traveling in. He says that it had gradually been dawning
upon his mind in England before he came to the Conference. I
think that what occurred at the Conference set Professor Prescott
to thinking; for since that time, it has seemed to me that he has
taken up the fundamental truths of the third angel's message, and
given them a prominence that they have not received for many
years." [Daniells to Ellen White, Jan. 4, 1904, 11 bk. 32, p 929]
Ellen White Versus Fanaticism
Through Ellen White many warnings were given the SDA church
of the 1890s about a developing apostasy that would subvert the
basic message of Adventism. The warnings , however, important as
they were, were not of an "exegetical" nature [to use terminology
designed to illustrate our thesis]. The church and its members
needed to perform that kind of function to detect the specific
errors the Lord was warning the church about. Notice this Aug. 8,
1906 statement by W. C. White:
"Mother has told us several times during the last few months
that the early experiences of the pioneers in this message, and
especially her experiences in meeting fanaticism and opposition
and all sorts of error ought to be printed and reprinted in
various forms so that our people would be familiar with it." [To A.
G. Daniells, G. A. Irwin and W. W. Prescott, WCW bk. 32, p 55]
Ellen White herself stated: "Christ has given many warnings
to the effect that false doctrines, false prophets and false
christs would arise, and deceive many. From the light that God
has been pleased to give me, his humble servant, I know that these
prophecies have been fulfilling, and testimonies have not been few
that have been given to meet these things as they have come up all
along through our religious experience."
Note, however, her reaction to those who wanted to use her
writings as a short-cut to exegesis:
"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]
In this next statement, Ellen White seems to be reacting to
the "Receive-Ye-the Holy-Ghost" movement when she states:
brother, there is danger of those in our ranks making a mistake in
regard to receiving the Holy Ghost....There is danger that
original devisings and superstitious imaginings will take the
place of the Scriptures. Tell our people be not anxious to
bring in something not revealed in the Word." [Ellen White to
Brother and Sister Haskell, July 4, 1900]
Referring to this same movement, Mrs. White later wrote
Haskell, "I am at times made very sad as I think of the use made
of the Testimonies." [Ellen White to S. N. Haskell, Oct. 10, 1900]
Here's another Ellen White response to the aberrant theology
developing in the 1890s:
"Let none of God's people believe the
fables advanced by some regarding the color of the hair. The idea
that persons who are deformed must be healed in order to be saved
is a fable originated by someone who needs inward cleansing
before he can receive the seal of God. In the great day of God
all who are faithful and true will receive the healing touch of
the divine Redeemer. The Lifegiver will remove every deformity,
and will give them eternal life." [Ellen White to S. N. Haskell
and G. A. Irwin, Dec. 15, 1899]
Notice the exegetical possibilities that can be derived from
the previous statement. In effect, if it is analyzed carefully,
it destroys the Scriptural base of the Waggoner—Jones—Ballenger—Kellogg theology that demanded physical benefits as a
resulting of overcoming sinning. If Ellen White's conclusions had
been carefully analyzed, I do not believe the church would have
suffered from the Living Temple trauma of 1902 to 1906.
Mrs. White frequently mentioned the fact that the church as a
corporate body should have discerned the error in the Kellogg
book, The Living Temple. It was not the Lord's intention,
she affirmed, that it should have been necessary for her to expose
the falsity of his teaching. She affirmed; "The sentiments in Living Temple regarding the personality of God have been
received even by men who have had a long experience in the
truth....That those whom we thought sound in the faith should have
failed to discern the specious, deadly influence of this science
of evil, should alarm us as nothing else has alarmed us." [Ellen
White, "Decided Action to Be Taken Now," Oct. 1903]
In 1904 she wrote: "Many are so blind that they do not yet
discern the misleading character of some of the sentiments
contained in the book Living Temple. Such ones, whether
they be ministers, doctors, or teachers, would better go apart and
study the Scriptures alone with God." [Ellen White, "The Berrien
Springs Meeting," July 25, 1904]
She frequently alluded to Kellogg's misuse of Scriptures as
well as his misuse of her writings to support his teaching, but
significantly, she never pointed to the particular texts that he
misused. It would seem that there are corporate responsibilities
in our relationship with Ellen White.
The testimony of Ellen White to A. F. Ballenger, given him
during the 1905 General Conference session, reads almost like a
replay of the Kellogg testimonies. Indeed, we can very well see
that the roots of their teachings were similar.
It would appear, however, that neither of them took the
testimonies seriously enough to exegete the roots of their error
and it likewise is apparent that the church also failed to do so.
Without a close analysis of the times when Ellen White wrote
her messages to the church, we will fall victim to many problems
concerning the nature of her inspiration. By close analysis,
however, I believe that even such difficult questions as the
following can be answered:
1. Why was the erroneous teaching allowed to develop for so
long? Indeed, Kellogg could point to statements he had made
throughout the 1890's, and published throughout denominational
literature not different from what he wrote in Living
2. Why did not Ellen White point out his specific
theological errors and the Scriptural basis for refuting them?
Indeed, he could even question Ellen White's use of the term "pantheist", for he certainly believed in a "personal God who sat
on His throne in heaven,' as he stated.
3. Why did Ellen White publicly praise Kellogg and other "pantheists", but privately send them testimonies of warning?
4. Why did not Ellen White condemn others holding similar
theories? The facts are that Kellogg [a non-theologian] did not
originate the Living Temple theology.
Corporate Responsibility and Ellen White
It would appear that throughout our history the work of Ellen
White was closely interrelated and dependent upon a corporate
There were times when Mrs. White herself could not interpret
a particular testimony and expected that the church leadership,
who should have been more familiar with the overall scope of the
work than Mrs. White, would, after prayerful consideration,
properly interpret a testimony. The details of her vision
concerning the dangers of consolidation provides irrefutable
evidence of this point.
There were times when Ellen White herself could misinterpret
a vision or misstate or imperfectly express what had been revealed
to her. Note what her son, W. C. White stated to Kellogg: "Sister White was not infallible in stating things revealed to
her." There are at least 3 examples where Ellen White apparently
misstated or misunderstood something revealed through vision: Eve
touching food in the garden of Eden and death as the result; the
number of generations contemporaneously living at the time of the
flood; use of the Southern Publishing facilities as a depot.
It thus seems that W. C. White's call for a united approach
to explain the logic for certain Ellen White counsels was entirely
reasonable. He alluded to the great privilege that was ours by
uniting together to combine scientific, Biblical, historical
reasons for some of the general counsels given by Ellen White.
In this sense, we can see that the church has the
responsibility not only of exegeting doctrinal issues, but also
those of a more general nature. [Obviously, I am here stretching
the meaning of the term "exegesis" almost to the breaking point.
But part of our problem in this area is to find some acceptable
term that will allow us to deal with the problem. In the past we
have used the term "verbal inspiration" of Ellen White in
primarily a "pastoral function", but those terms, in my opinion,
either do not solve the problem, or create such misunderstanding
that all kinds of controversy is generated. My use of the term
"exegesis" is a blatant attempt to avoid controversy.]
Here's how W. C. White expressed the issue: "[Mother] talks
freely about the general situation, but when it comes to pressing
her to say just what we shall do, she says that that is not her
part of the work; but that you must study and pray, and turn, and
overturn." [Letter to A. G. Daniells, date??]
Notice the logic used by W. C. White:
"The Lord did not at
any time use the gift of prophecy in a way which would excuse men
from the study of the Scriptures, or from prayerfully carrying
forward the work, exercising their faith in God at each step of
the way. This is well illustrated in the selection of locations
of our schools and sanitariums. Through Ellen White, governing
principals were laid down. The type of surroundings and the ideal
conditions were pointed out. Then the work of choosing the place
was left with the men in responsibility, who endeavored to find
the place that harmonized with the instruction given. In this way
those who carried the responsibilities of leadership were ever
made stronger in their work rather than dependent upon the Lord's
Let's now look at the consequences of denying this corporate
responsibility. Let's look at some examples of what happened when
we demanded more than the Lord intended and used Ellen White as a
sort of short-cut to an earnest seeking for truth.
Wrong Exegesis Using Ellen White
We have had the problem of the wrong use of the Ellen White
writings throughout our history. I believe that historical
exposure can help in the resolution of the problem, without in the
least injuring Ellen White's true role in the church. In each of
the examples that I will give, the theological issue involved was
eventually resolved by going to the Scriptures for its resolution,
even though many initially tried to short circuit that methodology
by going to Ellen White to resolve it.
Because he depended upon Ellen White for exegesis, A. F.
Ballenger lost his confidence in that gift over three words: "within", "daily", "Babylon."
He depended upon Ellen White in a way that she never
intended for his understanding of the terms "within the veil."
He depended upon Ellen White's statement in Early Writings for the meaning of the term "daily."
And he relied upon Ellen White's statement in Early Writings for the meaning of the term "Babylon", in Revelation 13 and 17.
When Ballenger later relied upon Biblical exegesis for the
meaning of those terms, he believed they conflicted with Ellen
White's usage. In other words he set up a straw man and left when
his straw man failed. It's too bad, because Ellen White denied
using the terms "Babylon", and "daily", in a theological or
exegetical sense. Scholars have recently also pointed out that
Mrs. White used the term "within the veil" in diverse or non-exegetical ways also.
The point is, by attributing to Ellen White a role that she
never claimed, A. F. Ballenger needlessly gave up his faith in
The same thing could be shown with a host of denominational
leaders who left the church over Ellen White. Even those who
stayed within the church had to wrestle with this problem.
1. W. W. Prescott was rated as "unorthodox" for years because
of his view of the meaning of the term "Babylon." After Great
Controversy was reissued in 1911, he was again orthodox because of
the change concerning that term in the new edition.
2. Time to begin the Sabbath issue. When J. N. Andrews did
the Biblical exegesis in 1855 on the time to begin the Sabbath,
and he concluded that the Bible supported sundown to sundown
Sabbath observance, some very prominent church leaders argued that
the new view was contrary to the teaching of Ellen White.
3. The same type of argument was used in regard to the
change from systematic benevolence to tithing. Stephen Haskell
and a number of others argued that the proposed change would
violate those writings of Ellen White that endorsed systematic
4. Concepts of interpretation of the 6th Trumpet issue. Few
today accept literally the statements in Great Controversy regarding Turkey and the 6th Trumpet.
5. David Paulson, J. H. Kellogg and others believed they
found support for the theology of Living Temple in Mrs.
White's writings. It appears that one of the reasons Ellen White
finally publicly opposed Kellogg's book and its theology was the
assumption that her writings supported that theology.
6. R. S. Donnell, leader of the holy flesh movement in
Indiana, some three years prior to his role in Indiana, widely
quoted from Ellen White in support of the beginning phrases of his
apostasy. This provides an example of zeal without proper theology and
the resulting consequences and also an explanation of why his
error went undetected for so long. Since he quoted from Ellen
White so vigorously, he seemed to be quite orthodox.
7. L. H. Crisler and his stand upon butter. His leaving the
church after volume nine of the Testimonies was published. Leaving the church because he made butter the test of orthodoxy.
8. Kansas City church and its split over volume nine of the
Testimonies for another reason: the position on Sunday labor. The
Wightmans leave over that issue. In the majority of these issues,
Ellen White was used by those who left as exegeting those points
for ever—that is, for finally providing the true Scriptural
answer to those issues. An inspired exegete does not change and
thus, when full Scriptural analysis pointed another direction,
those that left saw Ellen White as a false prophet.
9. Controversy over the law in Galatians and the covenants:
the central issues during the 1888-90 justification by faith
controversy. Note how W. C. White [who attended the 1888
Minneapolis conference] analyzed the issues:
"Those who stood for the old position regarding the Huns, and
for the old position regarding the law in Galatians, argued long
and loud that it would be very detrimental to our work to change
our position. They did not regard the new doctrine itself as of
such serious importance, but they believe that the old positions
had been sanctioned by the Testimonies, and to make a change
would unsettle the confidence of our people everywhere in the
testimonies; and this, they regarded as the most serious feature
of the whole question." [Note that this would be precisely the
reasoning that made the issue of the "daily" such a volatile issue
during the next decade.]
Note Mrs. White's statement about the Galatians controversy,
however [to Uriah Smith, March 8, 1890]: "You have turned from
plain light because you were afraid that the law question in
Galatians would have to be accepted. As to the law in Galatians,
I have no burden and never have had."
Despite the major argument that the new position would
destroy confidence of believers in Ellen White, Mrs. White would
claim that she had "no burden" to prove one way or the other on
Consider the implication of that Ellen White position: Ellen
White had written mentioning the Galatians issue in 1857, in 1872,
and in 1883 in the Life of Paul and in several other places and in
all those places it appeared that she had taken positions contrary
to that presented by E. J. Waggoner in 1888. How then could she
say, "As to the law in Galatians, I have no burden and never have
had." Her statement, I would suggest, seems to indicate that she
did not consider her previous statements to be of an exegetical or
theological nature, and not to be seen as a hindrance to an
exegetical resolution of the issue.
It seems to me that, if we take the position, we thereby
don't need to consider Ellen White as changing positions on that
issue, nor do we need to consider her diverse uses as
inconsistent. She just did not exegetically resolve theological
Tragically, however, neither the Galatians issue nor the
covenants question were dealt with exegetically and I would
suggest that the church consequently paid a heavy price, for these
were the theological underpinnings of justification by faith.
After the turn of the century Uriah Smith, G. I. Butler, and
probably many others confided that they never accepted the new
positions on those issues. [Note, however, that at least by 1896,
Ellen White did accept the Jones-Waggoner Galatians position.]
Other consequences are apparent:
1. Disunity resulted in a failure to detect a developing
apostasy within the church until its erroneous teachings were
strongly entrenched. [Some 20 of the major theologians were
teaching the core of the holy flesh error for a decade and most
eventually left the church.]
2. Those theologians that remained within the church
[primarily the "pioneers"] avoided the fanaticism of A. T. Jones,
E. J. Waggoner, J. H. Kellogg and others, but continued to reject
the theological underpinnings of justification by faith.
3. A. F. Ballenger believed his sanctuary teaching to be a
natural conclusion from the new views relative to the covenants.
He seemed to have been correct in that the central focus of the
new view regarding the covenants sought to make justification by
faith relevant to Old Testament times. He seems to have been
wrong, however, in its literalistic applications. The issue,
however, is that a united church could have been a help to
Ballenger to guide him away from his extremism and also to have
profited from his beneficial insights.
4. E. E. Andross and his 1912 response to Ballenger,
together with R. A. Underwood and the 1907 Sabbath School lessons
on the covenants, effectively set the theological stance back to
the pre-1888 positions.
Here's how the General Conference Committee responded to the
manuscript prepared by E. E. Andross:
"When you adopt the interpretation which you follow in your
manuscript, you really deny the efficacy of the new covenant
pervious to the cross....This seems to us to be a very serious
perversion of the teaching of the gospel, and that it involves if
possible, worse consequences than the teachings of Ballenger. We
believe that the new covenant, although not ratified until the
death of Christ was yet in full force for all purposes of
salvation from the time the promise was made to our first parents
in the Garden of Eden, as recorded in Gen. 3:15, and we are
unwilling to adopt any line of argument which in the least degree
weakens the force of this covenant."
The manuscript by Andross was published, however, since it is
far easier to have conflicting interpretations of Scripture than
of Ellen White.
Thus by 1912, the traditional positions on Galatians,
covenants, were well back to the pre-1888 stance. The church pays
a heavy price when it fails to work properly with the gift of
prophecy, but instead uses Ellen White to stifle theological
discussion. The theological path to righteousness by faith still
awaits full acceptance by the church.
What then was the purpose of the testimonies to Ballenger,
Kellogg, Donnell, and others if Ellen White did not provide the
precise theological roots of their error?
If each had considered carefully the Divine Source of the
counsel given them, they should have looked closely at the roots
of their teaching and should have seen their error. In addition,
it becomes apparent by anyone looking closely at the period, that
the counsel of Ellen White, even though it did not specify the
precise theological errors, still saved the church from
disintegration and erroneous teaching. This, of course, is an
extremely vital contribution.
Still, the church could have done more. It never looked
closely enough to point out the Scriptural basis for the A. F.
Ballenger, J. H. Kellogg, R. S. Donnell error. Until it does so, I
don't believe we can fully profit from the divine counsel the Lord
gave us to combat future similarly erroneous teachings. The false
scriptural base of J. H. Kellogg and all the other pantheistic
error has not been destroyed. We still see some of its overtones
within the church today.
Ellen White's statements regarding pantheism clearly exhibit
doctrinal authority, but the theological-exegetical path to those
errors needs to be made available to the church. Here is what I
suggest is the use of the gift of prophecy as a corporate
Note this W. C. White example of shared authority:
class of matter written by Mrs. White, in which she used the
writings of others, is comparatively small when considering the
vast field covered by her writings. It is in the delineation in
prophetic and doctrinal exposition that we find that she used the
words of others or had closely paraphrased them. In the vast
field covering thousands of pages of messages of encouragement,
reproof, and spiritual instruction, she worked independent of all
other writers, also in her divine prediction of future experiences
through which the church must pass." [W. C. White and D. E.
Robinson, "Brief Statements Regarding the Writings of Ellen
White," August 1933, pp. 19-20]
Here's how James White wrestled with a similar concept: "God
in much mercy has pitied the weakness of his people, and has set
the gifts in the gospel church to correct our errors, and to lead
us to his living Word."
This cannot occur if we go to Mrs. White for exegesis as a
shortcut. That does not lead to the Word.
James White continues:
"Every Christian is therefore in 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 [the Scriptures] to learn his
duty through any of the gifts. [If only A. F. Ballenger, J. H.
Kellogg, and hundreds of others in our history had practiced this.]
We say that the very moment he does [that is, turns from
Scriptures and relying on the Holy Spirit for his exegesis] he places the
gifts in a wrong place, and takes an extremely dangerous position.
The Word should be in front, and the eye of the church should be
placed upon it, as the rule to walk by, and the fountain of
wisdom, from which to learn duty in 'all good works'. But if a
portion of the church err from the truths of the Bible, and become
weak and sickly, and the flock become scattered, so that it seems
necessary for God to employ the gifts of the Spirit to correct,
receive, and heal the erring, we should let him work."
The Dilemma of John Harvey Kellogg
Kellogg denied espousing mystical teachings. He denied a
belief in pantheism and affirmed that he believed in a very
personal God. He further states his dilemma:
"When I found Prescott objecting to [Living Temple] I
did not believe in his sincerity, because he had said the same
things that I had said, and had published them in the Review again
and again, and had spent weeks laboring to impress the same things
upon our students and doctors here at the Sanitarium, and we all
know it. Second, I found similar statements to those which I had
made in Desire of Ages and other books that Sister White had
written....Third, because I had publicly taught the same things at
camp meetings and at several General Conferences, and my address
had been published in the General Conference Bulletin at several
conferences in succession—College View, South Lancaster, and
especially the last conference of 1901 at which Sister White was
present—and no one had ever made objection either to the
publication of these views or to their expression. Prof.
Prescott, Dr. Waggoner, and Eld Jones had been teaching the same
things and I had heard no objection to their teaching." [Kellogg
to Sarah McEnterfer, January 28, 1906, photocopy.]
The implications from that statement are many. But notice,
in particular, that he assumes that because Mrs. White was present
at the 1901 session and either heard or may have read his lectures
[which are clearly theologically aberrant, by the way], that she
thusly should have pointed out his errors then. He also assumes
that, since he held those views throughout the 1890s, it was
nothing more than a scheme to "get him" when those views came under
attack after 1902. An additional flaw in Kellogg's reasoning can
be seen in this reaction to E. S. Ballenger in 1941. Here's the
advice he has for Ballenger, who was then attacking the church:
"I have always had a great respect for you and have always
had a friendly feeling for you, but if I were you I would not
spend a minute in the kind of work that you are doing. A man of
your talents ought to be engaged in evangelistic work. Mere
theological doctrines have very little influence upon character.
It is the saving principles of the gospel and fundamental ideas of
integrity and equity that build character and not theological
tactics." [Kellogg to E. S. Ballenger, May 23, 1941, photocopy]
Kellogg is yet another example of the consequence of a
religious zeal without proper theology. His de-emphasis upon
theology obviously precluded him from a close examination of his
faulty theology. He thus had no means of accepting the
testimonies from Ellen White and went for other explanations of
those testimonies, concluding that Ellen White received her
messages, not from the Lord, but was being influenced against him
Kellogg's subjective stress upon character development seemed
to be all he felt was necessary. His path out of his dilemma was
his conclusion that W. C. White influenced the testimonies. He
apparently never accepted the fact that false views of
sanctification could be harmful to the church.
Kellogg was not alone in facing a dilemma relating to that
false teaching. Waggoner apparently did not consider that he
himself was not theologically perfect, or that he could have been
the father of the theology embraced by Kellogg. His dilemma
increased after Ellen White issued testimonies against the Living Temple which he, along with other pantheists
endorsed. Note this report of a conversation between W. W.
Prescott and E. J. Waggoner:
"In my talk with Brother Waggoner over his present attitude
toward the [Living Temple] teaching, he said to me that he
acknowledged the Testimony, and did not wish in any way to argue
against it or parry the force of it; but at the same time he was
obliged to say that the mere statement that he was wrong did not
impart the correct principles to him, or enable him to see at once
where he had departed from the line of truth." [W. W. Prescott to
J. H. Kellogg, Oct. 25, 1903, 11 bk. 31, p. 938]
Once again the corporate responsibilities involved with Ellen
White are exhibited. The Lord left E. J. Waggoner to be guided by
the Holy Spirit, as he sought to discover the roots of his error.
Albion F. Ballenger
The Ballenger experience represents the combination of
personal and denominational tragedies of the period we have been
We have already mentioned Ballenger's literalistic approach
to the gift of prophecy. His reading of Great Controversy and
Ellen White's statement that the term "Babylon" in Revelation 17
could not refer to the papacy placed him literally in a traumatic
dilemma for over 3 months. He concluded after that period that
Ellen White could not be inspired. He concluded similarly
regarding the term "within the veil", noting that exegetically it
had to refer to the second apartment of the heavenly sanctuary.
Upon taking that position, he made it known that he saw no way to
harmonize that position with Ellen White.
Ballenger assumed that Ellen White, as part of her
inspiration, used terms that thereby assumed final theological
exegesis for the terms she used. His hidden assumption when he
challenged the denominational sanctuary positions in 1905, was
that Ellen White was not inspired.
Ballenger needed a unified church to assist him. This was
true throughout his ministry. He was the most popular of the "Receive-ye-the-Holy-Ghost" speakers and was widely sought after.
As did A. T. Jones, A. F. Ballenger saw justification by
faith as "God's special work to prepare his people to 'receive the
promise of the Spirit through faith' [Gal. 3:14], or the 'latter
rain' as a preparation for the giving of the loudest cry of the
'loud cry.'" [RH, Aug. 17, 1897, p. 523]
Notice his use of Ellen White in this Ballenger statement
published in the 1899 General Conference Bulletin [p. 96]: "We
are in the time of the latter rain, yet we can not have it until
we are victorious over every besetting sin. Why is that? Let me
tell you. It is true, because God has said so."
In his call for sinless perfection prior to the reception of
the latter rain, Ballenger equates an Ellen White statement that
obviously has a context as though they were the direct words of
As we might expect A. F. Ballenger was very popular in
Indiana, home of the holy flesh movement. He told the Indianians;
"When I am conscious that I am not clean, I can not preach with
power; neither can I preach with 'unwonted power' when I know that
my people are not clean. Cleanse the Seventh-day Adventist Church
of all uncleanness, and I will promise the loudest cry of the loud
cry the same day." [RH, Nov.. 8, 1898, p. 720]
Ballenger followed the path of A. T. Jones, E. J. Waggoner,
J. H. Kellogg, John Brunson and many others by assuming that "the
gospel includes sanctification of the body." As long as sin was
put away, "the healing of the sick must...follow the preaching of
the Word." Notice his view of the atonement: just as Christ bore
our sins upon the Cross, so he bore our physical illnesses. As
long as our sins are put away, we must have the accompanying
physical benefits of the atonement. Ballenger's teaching, as did
the teaching of the other pantheists, shifted the emphasis away
from the truth of justification by faith that was to be a message
for the world and instead focused upon the inward-lookingpreparation they believed necessary in order to get the power to
give the message of justification by faith. Indeed, Ballenger
titled his book, Power for Witnessing.
We can thus see that this concept of the atonement would
naturally influence his sanctuary teaching in various particulars.
It is certain that Ballenger was strongly identified with the
fanatical manifestations of faith healing. It is also certain
that wherever those influenced by this brand of pantheism held
sway, the fundamentals of the church were absent. Such
fundamental teachings as the three angel's messages, the return of
Christ, the Sabbath, etc., were seen as of lesser relevance. This
was done less by design than by result. Why need the Lord return
when His people are sinless and enjoying perfect health?
It seems quite natural thusly that Ellen White should accuse
A. F. Ballenger as Kellogg also of "delaying the return of the
Lord" by their teachings.
Ballenger had yet another dilemma, however: If there was one
thing central to the messages of 1888-1890, it was the development
of the concept that justification by faith indeed was fully
effective prior to the Cross. This conclusion was reached by
those who exegeted on the covenants and the law in Galatians. As
we have noted, however, this exegesis was not accepted by major
segments of the church.
Ballenger considered that his sanctuary positions were a
natural conclusion from the new positions on the covenants taken
by E. J. Waggoner and endorsed by E. G. White.
Let's see if I can restate Ballenger's dilemma: Ellen White
endorsed the new insights concerning justification by faith, but
didn't provide the exegetical roots to justification. Jones and
Waggoner provided the exegetical roots, but the new position was
not endorsed by the pioneers who believed it was out of harmony
with the Ellen White writings. Now, on the basis of the new
position, A. F. Ballenger comes to new conclusions regarding the
sanctuary teaching, but his view also contains the aberrant
The dilemma continues: E. E. Andross decides to refute
Ballenger, but he does so on the basis of the pre-1888 exegesis
[on covenants]. The General Conference Committee, which was asked
to review the Andross manuscript sees his exegesis using pre-1888
theology as, "if possible," an erroneous teaching having worse
consequences than the Ballenger teaching. Nevertheless, the
Andross book was published as A More Excellent Ministry. Naturally Ballenger had a field day refuting it.
A number of lessons can be illustrated from this situation,
but I think central is the concept that the church lost in a
number of ways because of the wrong assumptions taken relative to
Ellen White. Also to be learned is the fact that Ballenger needed
to profit from other segments of the church for certainly his
literalism relative to a pre-Cross priestly ministry for Christ
The testimony sent to A. F. Ballenger in 1905, if believed by
him, would have shown him his ties to the pantheist movement, but
neither he nor the church looked at the faulty path he had been
traveling. All the ingredients were there if the testimony was
taken seriously, but Mrs. White did not exegete his specific
theological error for him. Her role functioned within a corporate
setting within the church, but by this time, Ballenger didn't
believe in it. His problem: he erroneously gave Ellen White
It would be profitable for us at this point to notice just
how Mrs. White did react to fanaticism that was developing within
Mrs. White and the Fanaticism of the 1890s
Any major listing of prominent SDA ministers of the 1890s
would include the following: A. T. Jones, E. J. Waggoner, J. W.
Scoles, A. F. Ballenger, J. A. Brunson, Harry Champness, A. R.
Leask, William Robinson, G. C. Tenney, L. A. Phippeny, R. S.
Donnell, S. S. Davis, William Hutchinson, E. J. Dryer, L. H.
Crisler. Most of these dynamic preachers and leaders would be
outside of Adventism before the ending of the first decade of the
Among the contributing factors to their eventual leaving the
church was their embracing what became known as the "Receive-ye-
the-Holy-Ghost" message. That message was seen as the "last call
of the last call of the third angel's message." It was called an
extension of the justification by faith message. The rationale
went something like this: "In order to give the final message, we
must have the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Since the Holy Ghost
could not place his seal upon sin, those giving that message must
be freed from sin and kept from sinning." [A. T. Jones' editorials
in the Review. For over a year Jones ended every editorial of the
Review with the words 'receive ye the Holy Ghost'.]
The movement advanced beyond the realm of spiritual perfection when it stressed the interrelationship between the
medical and evangelistic lines of work. Note this Review editorial by Jones:
"Perfect holiness embraces the flesh as well as the spirit;
it includes the body as well as the soul. Therefore, as perfect
holiness can not be attained without holiness of body, and as
holiness of body is expressed in the word 'health,' so perfect
holiness can not be attained without health.
"And 'without holiness no man shall see the Lord' [Heb.
12:14]. Since this is eternally so, and as perfect holiness
includes the body, and holiness of body is expressed in the word
'health.' do you not see in this the whole philosophy of health
reform? Do you not see by all this that in the principles of
health for the body, and righteousness for the soul, both
inwrought by the Holy Spirit of God, the Lord is preparing a
people unto perfect holiness, so that they can meet the Lord in
peace, and see him in holiness?
"Can you, then, despise or slight true health reform, and
expect to see the Lord in peace, which means only to see him in
holiness?" [RH, Nov. 22, 1898, p. 752]
The message of Minneapolis became so firmly intertwined with
the message of the Holy Ghost Movement, that it is difficult, even
today, to illustrate the difference.
One of the major theologians of the 1890s, who later left,
"God himself thus tells us that there are those among us who
are Sabbath-keepers, and are acquainted with the truth, but who
will not be prepared for the Lord when he comes. Their characters
will not have reached that degree of perfection in Jesus Christ
that entitles them to translation....More is required of the
candidates for translation than from any other people. We are to
live, you know, without a mediator....Did you ever stop to think
why we are to live without a mediator?—because there is no
necessity for one....[Brunson went on to note that the latter rain
could not come until God's people were cleansed from] every
defilement of flesh and spirit." [J. A. Brunson, General
Conference Bulletin, 1899, pp. 39-40]
How do you suspect that this teaching impacted upon the
fundamental teachings of the church. Here is A. T. Jones'
"We shall preach Christ, and Christ only, and yet be so
overflowing with the doctrine that, without saying anything about
it, the people will see in Christ the sanctuary, the coming of the
Lord, the Holy Spirit, holiness...the sovereignty of God, the
Sabbath, life only in Christ, Christian perfection, yea, every
doctrine of the Word, because it is in us." [RH, July 11, 1899]
E. J. Waggoner;
"The very same power that forgives sins is
the power that heals disease....As long as we may expect
forgiveness of sins, we may likewise expect healing of
disease....Therefore in the forgiveness of our sins by the life
which we lay hold of by faith, we have the healing of all
our diseases, if we but grasp the fact....The healing of all our
diseases is as sure as the forgiveness of all our sins; and
whether the healing be effected instantaneously or gradually, it
will be permanent. Then do not think that the age of miracles is
past, or that God's power or willingness is diminished in the
heart." [Waggoner, Present Truth, April 16, 1903, pp. 243-44]
"The Gospel includes the healing of disease as well as the
forgiveness of sins." [Ibid., June 18, 1903]
By 1908, the same message was preached in offshoot
publications by those campmeeting theologians of the 1890s. The
essential difference was that by 1908, they were all outside of
the church, calling for the "true" remnant to leave the
Within that category was A. F. Ballenger.
Dimensions of the Pantheism Crisis
Was the crisis over "pantheism" a largely manufactured crisis,
a way for Daniells to overcome the powerful influence J. H.
Kellogg was exerting upon the denomination?
In Daniells' view the Living Temple issues involved
the very integrity of the denomination. He wrote this to former
General Conference president, George Irwin:
"There is no doubt in my mind but what Satan has made a
master effort to wreck this work. I believe he has tried to
leaven this whole message with poisonous and devilish theories
calculated to destroy the force of the truths God has given us for
this time. He has tried to switch us off from our track, and
imperceptibly lead us away from the work God has given us to do." [Sept. 29, 1903, AU 11, 1903-04--D]
In alluding to the Living Temple issues, W. A. Spicer
"When once the plague is let loose not even those who
let it loose can stop it. As we have been told, the results of
the evil devising will break forth again and again....We simply
know that the third angel's message can never mix with this
pantheistic philosophy....It is remarkable to see how these ideas
that have secured a foothold within our ranks are sweeping through
the other denominations....We need not expect the evil one to
label his wares properly when he comes to deceive the very elect." [Spicer to A. G. Haughey, April 5, 1905, RG 21 bk. 40, pp. 751-52]
He wrote Irwin:
"I tell you we can appreciate the experience
that you had to pass through in the years in which this element
was preparing for its later manifestations. It is no accidental
development that we are facing...a definite, far-reaching plan to
ruin this denomination." [April 6, 1904, AU 11, 1903-04--S]
Mrs. White noted that the church had allowed the apostasy to
drift so far and so fast that it was now compelled to take steps
designed to save the denomination from ruin. [A. G. Daniells to
W. C. White, Mar. 22, 1905, RG 11 bk. 36, p 691]
Those who observed Mrs. White in her public testimonies on
the crisis seemed to see "a most oppressive burden upon her." She
seemed terrified, they had never seen her "so fearfully stirred
over anything." She seemed to have "terrible revelations" and been
"terrified day after day and night after night." [Daniells to G.
A. Irwin, Aug. 11, 1903, RG 11 bk. 34, p. 735; to Edith M. Graham,
Aug. 11, 1904, ibid., p. 730]
Mrs. White observed that if the entire church expended its
entire resources for the duration of the lives of those then
living, the consequences of the evil influences that had taken
root within the church could not be fully undone. She noted that
God alone could counteract the evil of that false teaching. Again
she blamed the ministers for not being alert to detect the error.
[A. G. Daniells to W. J. Stone, Feb. 12, 1904, RG 11 bk. 33, p.
Ellen White's testimonies seemed designed to teach the church
its helplessness, unworthiness and dependence upon Christ while
the core of the Living Temple theology focused upon the
supposed perfectibility of the believer.
W. C. White observed that the false theology "which is
leading the world captive and has come very close to us, teaches
the opposite" to the Ellen White focus upon dependence upon Christ.
Conclusion [For Part 1]
In 1909, E. J. Waggoner, who was by then outside of the
Seventh-day Adventist church, had a conversation with H. W. Carr,
president of the Western New York Conference.
Waggoner told Carr that since he found that everything that was in
the testimonies was, in principle, also in the Bible and thus he
found no real use for the testimonies since they became a lazy way
of studying the Bible.
Carr's response was somewhat stunning to Waggoner. Carr
asked Waggoner to find in the Bible the concept that the book
Living Temple contained pantheistic teachings.
I believe this experience illustrates one of the vital
functions of the gift of prophecy and one that is fully relevant
today: exposing doctrinal error. Such exposure is, however,
irrelevant to us today, except as a historical curiosity, as long
as the roots of that apostasy are not exposed. To expose that
apostasy we need to recognize a corporate responsibility.
We have one additional great need. In 1902 E. J. Waggoner
penned a very meaningful statement:
"No man drops in one day from perfect faith to gross error;
much less do multitudes of people apostatize all at the same time.
Error is insidious in its working, and the people who fall away
are rarely conscious that any change is taking place in them." [Present Truth, Jan. 30, 1902, p. 69]
I would suggest that that is why the Lord has designed that
the church should continue diverse personalities—we need each
Note this report of an interview C. C. Crisler had with Mrs. White.
"Men of varied minds, varied temperaments, varied experience,
are to be associated in Christian work; and as they take counsel
with one another, and exchange views and convictions, and humble
themselves before God, and pray together for heavenly wisdom,
light will be given them, and they will be enabled to go forward
unitedly, pulling in even lines, and allowing God to rule. This
is not after the natural heart of man; it is God's way of managing
His work; man is prone to set up his individual judgment as a
criterion for others to follow....She made plain, perhaps plainer
than before, the possibility of a man's being sincere in his
understanding of her counsel, and yet mistaken."
I believe we continue to have a relevant gift of prophecy
within the church, but we must unitedly fulfill our
responsibilities. Tremendous challenges lie ahead for the church
in this area.
Mrs. White wrote this in 1899:
"Some matters have been opened before me which will be
fulfilled ere long. We are to know more than we do at the present
time. We are to comprehend the deep things of God. There are
themes to be dwelt upon which are worthy of more than a passing
notice. Angels have desired to look into the truths which are
revealed to the people who are searching God's Word and with
contrite hearts praying for wisdom, for greater lengths and
breadths and heights of that knowledge which God alone can
"Those who will devote their powers to the study of God's
Word, and especially the prophecies referring to these last days,
will be rewarded by the discovery of important truths." [May 11,
1899, Testimonies of Misc. Subjects, "Daniel Section, " p. 44]