I’m incurably Adventist, and I’m a fan of Ellen G. White. As is well known, the “G” stands for “Gould,” which was the maiden name of her mother, Eunice Gould Harmon. More recently Ellen has been identified as “Ellen Harmon White,” thanks to a collection of essays published in 2014 by Oxford University Press. My fondness and respect for Ellen come largely from her ideas and insights — her thinking — as I want to explain. In the process, I hope no one will be offended by my habit of referring to Ellen simply by her first name. We are, after all, part of the same spiritual family, and I have lived a few months longer than she did. To me she is like a favorite aunt; I could comfortably call her “Aunt Ellen.” But it’s more than a matter of affection; her influence on my thinking has been enormously valuable, and I am profoundly grateful.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/views/2019/catching-ellen-five-important-ideas-are-often-missed
Another great collection of valuable thoughts by Dr. Fritz Guy.
There is no doubt that Ellen’s writings have been a true inspiration to millions. There is, however, a major problem with the way her writings have been used by the Church. It’s obvious that every thought and doctrine have to go through her before they can be affirmed. And this is not the way it should be since, for true Christians, the Bible is the only validated source of belief and doctrine.
Dr Guy and I worked together years ago on the union of Loma Linda and La Sierra. I found him a delight and profound thinker. Glad to read your thoughts on Ellen White. few use her writing with such respect and regard for.her humanity. It is obvious that Fritz and Ted read and use her differently. One as a guide the other as a club.
George, I hate to use this way to contact you but I have no other. I hope to see you at Stuart’s memorial service on Saturday.
I sure will be there. Hope to see you too. It will certainly be a very nice celebration. Sad but at the same time a celebration of a great life.
The people who reap the most value from Ellen White’s writings are those who discover those writings for themselves and do not rely on others to digest those thoughts and interpret their meanings. Those who rely on the scholarship or published opinions of someone else will not come away from it with an opinion of their own.
While I have the highest respect for Fritz, I find it difficult to reconcile her vision of Christ moving from the outer apartment to the Most Holy on Oct 20 1844.
I gave all of her writing to the local church school except Ministry Of Healing and Christ’s Object Lessons. I also have a high regard for her chapter on prayer in Steps To Christ. yet I find the writing of John Stott more to the Gospel than the major emphasis of Adventism on works and a final generation… Also the contributions of Des Ford.
The first thing that has to be built up in new members is trust that what they are told is always true. Then, when those people read EGW they have no reason to doubt or ask questions because they were told that the materials are 100% error-proof, honest, reliable, and coming straight from the Heavens.
But then, those who gain access to broader/deeper information will experience a horrible time of complete disappointment. In my case, I was deeply involved in the Church and in theology.
What I experienced (40 years ago) was feeling cheated, victim of intentional dishonesty, being fooled by people who knew what they were doing. That’s when I detached emotionally from the SDA corporation and, miraculously, stayed attached to local churches that were willing no to support the farce and the fairy tales. So far so good.
It took me many years to kind of resolve the spiritual conflict that was triggered inside of my mind. By now I believe that it’s 99% resolved…
Yes, John Stott (1921-2011), an English Anglican Priest, produced many works that are solid and continue to offer value and inspiration. It was stated “If evangelicals could elect a pope, Stott would be the person they would likely choose” Interesting side note: Although Stoff supported the ordination of women to serve locally as deacons, he did not believe they should be permitted in positions of headship.
Stott candidly related his conversion experience: After listening to a sermon by E.J.H. Nash entitled “What Then Shall I Do with Jesus, Who Is Called the Christ”, Stott was directed, by Nash, to visit Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door…”
Thanks for the reminder of John Stott!
Would have been interesting for you to hear the Dean of LLU School of Religion, Jon Paulien, speaking on Truth and Post Modernism regarding Ellen White which he said makes you a better person, testifies to and models after…
- 52:25 “… they may discover that if Ellen White and the bible have made you a better person they may want to become more like you. Our testimony about Ellen White and our testimony about the scripture will have power when we come to them through these six points. But correctives will not be welcome unless our spirit is different from what they think Ellen White’s spirit was. In other words we need to model for them the Ellen White that we believe in the way that we treat them. That becomes the bottom line.”
Unfortunately soon after I posted this sermon and transcript section from it in April of '17 it was taken off the internet completely. Poof, gone. Maybe it had something to do with my comment of “you spelled Jesus wrong”?
Truth and Post Modernism by Jon Paulien
Just think about this! Model for others the Ellen White we believe in?? Christians believe in Christ! We are not here to model EGW for others. We are not called to believe in her. Christian faith is in Jesus. Period. The one we hopefully model to the world is Jesus. Period.
I don’t really care what the context of Paulien’s statements were…and that’s a lot for me to say. Whatever his context, he should have thought more about the particular language he was using here, because it unfortunately models a cult like mentality more than anything else.
Frank, if you would have seen the video (which I have searched for anywhere and everywhere) the impact, to mostly students mind you, well, the impact was beyond what you describe… At the time I was sharing this as an example of extra-biblical truth gone wrong to someone that strongly rejects that notion. I believe there’s a danger of extra-biblical “light” that can be misconstrued. The bible tells us just that.
On a personal note, I only found that sermon after researching comments made by my BIL SDA pastor spouting these things under the genre of “no more explaining creationism”. I found a cut-n-paste sermon he did from Paulien’s (rare right?) I could find his sermon and post but that’s not what this is about. What it does do however is show the propensity of “tradition” and topical sermons that promote that which “may be” not biblical.
Your comment is interesting as it dovetails mine at the time. Here is my original reaction to the transcript which I never received an answer to…
I agree with Fritz Guy’s five points, especially in light of the point about abandoning ideas that she and others held that did not bear up under closer scrutiny. My pastor who baptized me, 1046, said that she did not want belief in her gift to be a requirement for membership. He quoted her so my question is what happened to that quote when the brethern in the 1950’s made her a fundamental belief. So am I heretical for telling people I baptized what I was told when I was. I don’t think I am heretical to her view of herself, because it has helped me to not “throw the baby out withthe bath water”, not withstanding the discussions of the last forty some years. Thanks Fritz.
@frank_merendino to be fair I expounded since your reply
Just going to tag this on. What would be the reason to delete a video of a SERMON produced by the Dean of LLU School of Religion from the internet? Anyone?
I haven’t a clue. But, it’s quite telling that this is a prominent scholar on Revelation saying such things. The pull of the denominational tradition and the group think that results can be overpowering…especially for anyone in its employ.
Off topic yet…
“I was disappointed in Dr. Larson’s interruption and disrespect for both the message and the messenger.”
Larson cut these guys short with "Wesleyan Quadrilateral” @ 38:07 and “we’ll have you back” for the rest? Andrew is from the Philippines! Can’t even give him his promised time? So four sources of truth because the bible is not apparently sufficient? That room had plenty of credentialed in it but I wonder how many besides you were not impressed with the lack of intellectual honesty produced by Larson?
Perhaps among SDA’s. His degrees are from SDA schools, and he is very much in line with traditional EGW/SDA beliefs on Revelation. He is true blue SDA.
This can be called intellectual honesty and a sincere search for truth - something that is difficult to find in almost all her apologists and biographers (better classified as hagiographers).
Much as I respect Dr Guy, whenever I hear someone using EGW quotes extensively, I know ( and hopefully the person quoting her knows ) that it is not possible to predict which phrase / paragraph/ page / passage / portion is original with her or which has been purloined / plagiarized. / pirated/ / poached ./ pilfered.
One could pardon her prodigious plagiarism EXCEPT that she ( and her family members ) vehemently and vociferously denied it.
She persistently proclaimed that God spoke to her directly, yet much evidence shows that He circuitously channeled communications to her through contemporary writers.
Dr Guy’s analysis that
RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE IS PROGRESSIVE
“even a recognized prophet can grow and change in theological understanding over a period of time “ makes no sense at all, given EGW’s claim that her messages came directly from God.
From 1858 till 1890, EGW gives three differing statements about Lucifer’s rebellion and God’s response to it.
If her messages came from God why did God not give a consistent message to her over that time frame?
Lucifer’s downfall had happened eons earlier, so why was God so unsure of His basic facts that Ne had to feed Ellen three differing versions?
Just as much of her output is fake, so is the photographic portrait of demure Ellen posing in her nun like black garments. —- the brethren had seen fit to use black ink to obliterate the multiple strands of pearls, which in the real / original photograph, adorned her bosom!