Ellen White and Prophetic Authority

Your questions implicitly seem to recognize the paltry or nonexistent evidence for either. In that, we are on the same page. That is the thread I pulled years ago that started the unraveling of the entire edifice.


Yes my point was requiring scientific evidence to believe in a concept like “God “ is absurd because, although I believe there is abundant signs that God exists, we cannot prove scientifically much of the Bible and therefore, it requires faith.

If it were scientifically probable it wouldn’t require faith. But believing in evolution also requires faith. There is no scientific proof that a non-living thing can suddenly come to life as evolution would require. And I can’t look at a society like that of ants, which is so incredibly organized, methodical, and productive and think they evolved all that order in their own given their mental capacity. Their societies are probably better run than ours and to think it just evolved that way is nonsense to me.

So I think common sense would say: someone, something had to have designed this, created this. That’s one of the reasons I believe in God. But I know it’s not provable.

Ellen White should be seen as no different to Adventism than Martin Luther is to Lutheranism, or Calvin or Presbyterianism, or Wesley to Methodism. She is “formative” not “normative.” Authority does not derive from a “special” inspiration or revelation not accessible to all believers, but from the accepted historical proximity of certain believers/writers to certain events (Jewish or Christian) or :witnesses. That proximity, after discussion and wrangling, was generally (not universally) adopted as authoritative for the community as it moved forward through time. Down through subsequent history, that “authority” was interpreted and reinterpreted as culture changed, as different “powers” of the state or ruling class, shaped our thinking about the texts. People like Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, et al, also guided presumably by the Spirit no differently than anyone else, saw what they believed was “truth” and proclaimed it. When communities accepted their “new” interpretation or rendering, it was seen as a “return” to the ultimate authoritative “book” (even if itself riddled with human fallibility). Adventism and its founders (especially EG White) is no different. Such biblical or theological “revolutionaries” have no more authority from the Spirit Jesus promised than any other authority since the Bible, EXCEPT WITHIN THE COMMUNITIES THAT AROSE FROM THEIR WORK. She was no more inspired as an authority than any believer who studies the Bible under that Spirit, and can and should be challenged by those who disagree with her within the community (or outside it) when appropriate. Luke, e.g., was “inspired” (led?) to create an “orderly” account of the events in Jesus life (by talking to those few who knew him intimately, it is presumed). It, along with other such writings, is the ultimate–even if very human–account of what happened, Appealing to visions or exceptional mystical experiences may engender a “special” authority, but it too can and should be susceptible to critical evaluation. Lacking it, we get where we are, which is not unifying.


A. There neither is nor can be verifiable evidence of the 'divinity" of Jesus. That is obvious and been a contentious issue since the beginning. One can only claim that one or the other hypothesis better fits the meaning if the narratives,

B. On the resurrection, a great deal of research which, of course, is not dispositive because all historical events are more or less accepted by what we now have in the various forms of evidence available in several disciplines. If one wants to look at the most comprehensive study of the “resurrection” claim, one can look at N.T. Wrights voluminous study on that topic, Others exist but are more polemical in nature and much less attendant to the historical materials.

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We all got some version of this in every SDA college back then. May still be true at SAU. Don’t know. Sad chapter in our history which has been obliterated by solid historical research and no longer defines the thinking or experience of SDA scholars (with few exceptions). See my recent post on EGW on this page.

this was, and is, probably inevitable, unless we posit a two-tiered system of inspiration, one for egw, and one for the bible…but such a position would be based on nothing more than our own notions…if the bible is elevated into inerrant/infallible territory, it cannot be remarkable that egw is, as well…

the reality is that inspired figures have always spoken authoritatively, whether they were believed or not, and a lack of belief and obedience always comes across as a fatal lack on the part of those who chose to not believe the inspired figure…nor do we see the messages of inspired figures relegated to some innocuous optional status, where their words could be received as well as not, without consequences…

i think FB#18, like the traditional, official Church position, goes to some pains to elevate the authority of the bible over egw…but it might as well not bother…if something is inspired, it logically must be authoritative…and authoritative means just that…no amount of quibbling can reasonably consign it to a secondary status…

the question, then, must centre, as this article discusses, on whether the original designation of inspiration for egw was correct…the reality is that decades upon decades of charges of everything from plagiarism and theft to rank lies have been levied against egw, to no real avail…part of this futility, of course, has rested in the often dubious Adventism of those involved in these charges…but the bigger aspect of this futility is the result of egw’s own prediction that these things would increase towards the end of time…the suspicion that she knew she was a fraud and was merely projecting what she knew was an inevitability notwithstanding, the reality continues to be that if egw was inspired, and truly foresaw the war mounted against her in the future, there is no way for her to say this other than the way she has said it…

i think, as with all things spiritual, there is a choice required in order to believe in the inspiration of egw, amidst many compelling choices to the contrary…while we can say that egw has a long track record of building faith, it is the increasing reality that it takes faith to benefit from egw in the first place…personally, i think this is why faith, in anything spiritual, is rewarded, and why it is depicted as the key to effective spirituality…faith is never an inevitability, as if there were no other equally or more viable options to take…quite unlike a scientific belief, faith is a choice consciously and deliberately made when there are many other reasonable choices available…faith is therefore not unlike love, where a particular object is chosen for adoration, not because it was the only object to choose at the time, but because it eclipsed all else in terms of desirability…

First things first, man: Is that Ellen G. White’s grave in the photo?

I don’t have a problem with the obelisk, in the background, though White might: As Somé M. Louis has observed:

The monolithic obelisk was invented by the kings of the fifth dynasty (2465-2323 BCE) in reverence to the sun god, Re. They often had kingly connotations, representing a connection between the spirit (ka ) of the king, and the sun god. The shape of these obelisks may have been representational, with the shaft functioning as a pillar in honor of the sun god, and the pyramidion symbolizing the rays of the sun as they hit the earth. Despite the new meanings of the monolithic obelisk, these gigantic structures still functioned as funerary monuments, and were often placed at the entrance of tombs.

This seems to be precisely the kind of symbolic repurposing — from heathenism — against which she was repeatedly claimed to have spoken.

No, my issue is with the ghastly apparition in the foreground. Is that a permanent feature? Or is this photo from her funeral? What’s going on here?

Secondly, in this text…

The Scriptures testify that one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church

…the bolded line is false, or, at least, I disagree that it is true.

The logic which generates this conclusion from biblical data is pretzel-shaped. I wrote about it in my HERETIC. essay, “Who Is Really The Remnant Church?”

In other words, a large part of SDA adoration for EGW is based in the belief she represents God’s seal; one affirming Adventism is true and has His favor. But the argument, in my opinion, is highly, obviously flawed.


I’m not clear.

Is this statement…

…one affirming EGW’s inerrancy / infallibility? Or is it one affirming the question will keep coming up without a falsifiable definition of these qualities?

Also, you say:

What do you mean by, “to no real avail”?

Adventism is not open source. People generally believe what the leadership tells them, and contradicting sources of information are not only few, but ignored, restricted, or disparaged; you, for example, speak to, “the often dubious Adventism of those involved in these charges.”

Do you think EGW’s dietary prowess would have survived a reader’s version of Prophetess of Health sold next to it? What if Fred Veltman’s report came with each set of Testimonies to the Church?


The modern synthesis — what many call evolution, or the theory of evolution — does not make any statements about, or have any requirements regarding, how life originated. This is a wholly separate area of research.

Evolution is a statement about how living things change. It argues that living things change because 1) organisms are fit for their environments, or not, and/or 2) organisms’s genes change.



i think it’s both…in fact i think the one always assumes the other…

the Church doesn’t appear to be interested in severing ties with egw any time soon…at the last GC, delegates voted to affirm confidence in egw to the tune of 90.7%…

Not really. No more so than “believing” in electricity requires faith. Or “believing” in the images coming in from the James Webb telescope. Or “believing” that we landed on the moon in the 1960’s, or that the world is round and revolves around the sun. Or “believing” that a Tesla is a real car (it’s not).

Generally speaking, one doesn’t need to believe in these things at all. One can simply directly observe them or indirectly understand that they are real by examining the evidence. Accepting facts is different than belief.

We watch evolution happen all the time, in real time:

The processes described in these articles happen to everything alive all the time. In many cases change is slow because there is little reason to change. But at other times, the need becomes intense and populations of organisms respond accordingly. It’s settled science and requires no belief at all.


Your point actually asked (rhetorically) what evidence there is for the resurrection. You are now shifting the topic. But the resurrection claim is a historical claim. It can be analyzed. The purported “evidence” for it crumbles when subjected to careful examination.

Here, you posit the existence of Yahweh acknowledging to direct evidence to support that contention, then you assert that one can only support that proposition by faith. Do you not see this as circular? This is the opposite of how knowledge is acquired. I could assert that fairies exist, but since there is no actual evidence for their existence, faith is required. This isn’t much of a system for gaining or verifying knowledge claims is it?

Sorry, no. The fact of evolution occurring has been recognized for many centuries. The mechanism explaining how it works is the theory of evolution. Faith has no place in this. It is acknowledgement or acceptance of demonstrable facts of nature.

This is the fallacy of incredulity. Reality doesn’t care whether you can understand it. Saying that you can’t believe how something is possible, therefore Yahweh exists, and he caused it is embarrassing. It is an argument from ignorance and wonder. The ancients didn’t know how lightning and thunder operated, so they concluded that Jupiter did it. I think we have moved forward a bit since then. Ignorance isn’t an argument, much less is it evidence.


From what I see, the biggest criticism I see is that of plagiarism. I’ve read “the white lie” and yea there are passages that were borrowed or paraphrased but in comparison to the volume of work they are 1) insignificant in quantity 2)don’t significantly add/change her fundamental message. To hear some here, she copied all her work directly from other authors which is extremely unfair.

Also the author mentions that the health ideas she advocated were in existence prior to her. No one I’ve heard has ever argued she was a proponent of ideas that were never known before of that were brand new. What we argue is that soft someone with an extremely limited education to know which health principles to accept and which to reject (in her time there were many outlandish ideas accepted by health professionals) and her having no formal health training is very difficult to explain. She advocated for more fruits, vegetables, no alcohol or smoking, less meat and later in life no meat at all, grains nuts, water etc. these are all generally accepted and have been adopted by many nutritionists and for an limited executed person to come with this all on her own is just not plausible.

Further, for the inconsistencies and borrowing that is used to discredit her completely, I’ve yet to hear an explanation for the physical manifestations she exhibited while publicly in vision. The not breathing, immobility, supernatural strength etc. if one argues she was a false prophet, how is this explained?

But what convinced me of her status as a prophet is hew constant exaltation of Jesus and pointing the church to the Bible. There is no “look at me” etc, in fact it’s the opposite and that consistent effort to point other to Jesus and the Bible is strong evidence she was not trying to pull anything over anyone.

I get that, but if you believe that, how do you explain the origin of life itself. My point wasn’t what area of research explains this my point is that science in general cannot explain, verify, test or replicate the origin of life. So it must depend on faith. It must accept a fact that it cannot explain and has no scientific evidence of.

Apart from science, common sense will tell you a creature like an ant cannot have the extremely complex and organized society they have based solely on evolution. I’ve studied their society and I see clear evidence of a higher intelligence that designed them. Is this proof? No, can science look at ants and say, “there is a God”? No. But the Bible says that when we look at nature we should be able to determine that this all can’t be by chance. The expansion rate of the universe being another example. To much matter and it collapse in itself, too much expansion and we expand into oblivion. I could go in all night abiut things that just are too extraordinary to be chance. But none of these can prove God exists. But rational intelligent beings should be able to deduce that all this can’t be chance…in fact the Bible states there is no excuse for not believing in a Creator once we’ve looked at nature.

I don’t think this is circular. If I walk out to my front porch and I see 4 stones perfectly balanced one on top of another, I can see that as evidence that a person stacked them there. I can’t prove it, I didn’t see it, I can’t scientifically prove that it was a person, but the evidence points to a person having done that.

I see evidence of intelligence all throughout the universe. I can’t prove this was God, science can’t prove it was God, but the most logical and likely conclusion to me is that a superior being did this. I conclude that based on what I see but I can’t prove, hence the faith, but that’s not circular logic.


You see it as evidence that a person stacked the rocks.

You do not default to the assumption that an omniscient, all-powerful being did it.

If you see lights in the sky which move faster than you can imagine, and which have strange colored glows about them, do you immediately assume there must be aliens visiting from other planets?

Or do you first consider the possibility that there might be simpler, more down to earth explanations?

Science does not have an irrefutable “origins of life” hypothesis and I’m almost certain there are some things for which the scientific answers only lead to more questions.

But the fact that there are some things we don’t understand is not the same as saying that we can’t and never will understand them, and it is a lazy philosopher’s illogical leap to insist that finite nature of human intelligence necessarily implies the existence of a know-it-all god.

Further, the existence of so many supposedly “holy” books written by authors who claim to speak on behalf of an omniscient, all-powerful god, tends to lend credence to the disbelief in the existence of such a god. That is it seems that a jealous god would only ever want to speak for himself and would actively prevent anyone from claiming that they are that god’s spokespersons.




No, not always:
A person didn’t do it.
God didn’t do it.
Natural forces, and a long, long time did it.


People always talk about how something is “hard to believe”.

So it seems saying “I don’t believe,” would be the easier route, particularly given Mark Twain’s suggestion that it’s best to tell the truth whenever possible as its so much easier than trying to keep one’s lies straight.

However, it turns out that disbelief is virtually impossible for those who would rather commit to a life of complicated fantasy and constant fabrication than demonstrate the resolve required to say “I don’t know.”

And if nothing else, pretending to have all the answers impresses the kids…until they get old enough to start doubting what you say!



Once it is determined that a person is God’s true prophet, their revelations from God should be accepted as trustworthy and authoritative. However, their personal opinions and conduct are subject to scrutiny like that of everyone else. No prophet knows everything and is perfect. For example, Moses and John the Baptist. The same can be said about Ellen White.

The following statements by Ellen White are frequently used to justify the introductions of new theories that contradict her writings:

“We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed.” (1 Selected Messages, p. 37) “In regard to infallibility, I never claimed it; God alone is infallible.” (1 Selected Messages, p. 37)

We have examples in her writings that show exactly what she meant by learning new lessons. These include the issues with the Sabbath in terms of which day of the week and what time on Friday the Sabbath begins (sunset versus midnight), the nature of the Holy Spirit, and clean meats versus unclea meats. As the church was in its early developmental stage, the leaders and members had to learn and unlearn lessons about these topics.

Once God revealed the truths concerning these and other issues they became established or settled truths. New light, if any on these issues or others, will not contradict old established truths. That is because God is infallible and God does not contradict Himself.

We saw what happened to the prophet in the Bible who, when given new instructions that contradicted the initial commands/instructions from God, chose to disobey the initial instructions. He was destroyed for beingdisobedient. (See 1 King 13)

"Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper” 2 Chronicles 20:20(b) (NIV). God by His principles will not do anything of importance concerning His children without informing His servants, the prophets. (See Amos 3:7)

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