Ellen White’s Afterlife: Author Interview with George R. Knight


True, historicism as a method of interpreting prophecy, only takes into account the events that are relevant to the person/denomination interpreting the prophecy.

It leaves/ignores events that may not be relevant to the person/denomination. eg. the great schism 1054, the destruction of the christian churches established by paul, peter and other apostles in areas such as Antioch, Ephesus, Alexandria, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea etc

The remnant church (SDA), a church established 1700 years after revelation was written, takes the center stage in prophecy.

(jeremy) #63

yes, indeed…egw is the only person since bible times who saw christ from the manger to the grave, as well as the world from creation through the flood through the second coming through the new creation after the millennium…she saw all the disciples…she saw all the patriarchs and ancient prophets…she saw adam and eve before they sinned…she understood their language, their thoughts and their feelings…she had a unique understanding of how culture shaped thought, and how thought shaped action…this kind of insight is priceless…it’s impossible to put a value on it…

and she also saw satan and evil angels, in addition to the good angels…she saw their capacity to influence the human mind…she saw the interaction between the visible and invisible worlds…she saw the sanctuary in heaven, and she saw the new earth…i mean everything we’re interested in she’s an authoritative witness for…actually i’m thinking a few hours wouldn’t be enough…i think an entire summer of non-stop interviews, taped on video, would be the thing…

(Michael Wortman) #64

Jeremy Your post is so rhapsodic. I have a hard time understanding how a person, who cognitively is able to process information about how Mrs. White and her secretaries used so many sources in the production of her oeuvre, could give her complete credit for such a comprehensive understanding of Bible characters’ language, thoughts, and feelings. This goes beyond anything that I have seen or heard from even the staunchest supporters of her position as “the Spirit of Prophesy” in the Adventist church. I think of your idealization of Mrs. White as kin to the feelings that a besotted lover has to his/her first true love, before he/she realizes that his/her lover is less than perfect.

(Kim Green) #65

Jeremy, I don’t have the same beliefs as you do regarding EGW. Nonetheless…I would be so eager to hear her take on what the Adventist church has become since her death. For the most part, I am sure she would be shocked and dismayed.

(Elmer Cupino) #66

Jeremy, I would vehemently disagree with you. I have met a lot of them. One even tried to teach me the language of heaven. I passed on it. I’d rather learn it when I get to heaven.

(Kim Green) #67

Tu es muy malo, mi amigo!!! :laughing:

(Nathan Robinson) #68

In Knight’s interview he makes this statement . . . “As a church without a prophet, Adventism was challenged to face more seriously the nature of her work and her role in theological discussion. Since she was no longer alive to state her opinions and modify excesses, it had (and has) fallen to Adventism’s thought leaders to go back to her writings and church history to gain an understanding. Not to do so is to move forward in ignorance — an ignorance that can be destructive due to the power of prophecy in both the Bible and the history of the church.”

A few questions come to mind. First, what would the church be “ignorant” of? What is so crucial, so misunderstood, about EGW that we risk destruction if we do not apprehend?

Second, is the primary value of EGW her interpretation of biblical prophecy? Knight seems to think so, unless I misunderstand this interview. I see a potentilly dangerous imbalance here if prophecy is the dominant influence/power in the Church.

And last, what is the real value of EGW supposed to be? This seems like a stupid question, but I wonder how she would answer it.

(JRStovall) #69

Not to quibble…But I did say ‘everything she wrote’. In the instance you’re referring too, it was a letter/s to Battle Creek referring to some letters she had written to a particular person which they were questioning. Obviously there were instances were she claimed to have communication with God about what she wrote.

I believe the .org. published much that’s simply her thoughts or opinions for that time and place leading some people to believe everything wrote was inspired. A giant mistake that led to where we are today. The .org, in my opinion, established the groundwork for people to have doubts about her ‘sources/abilities/writings’.

I. have no issue with persons questioning, but I believe we have to be fair and accurate in what we are questioning.

(Cfowler) #70

About 15 years ago, I really delved into “all things Ellen”. The early beginnings of her prophet/not prophet/more than a prophet career, and beyond. I looked into as much as I could find about the whole 70 years. I found letters, etc. from people who knew and saw EGW and James White in the beginning of their “ministry” (and later). It was truly fascinating! But, I came away fully convinced that she was not a prophet/more than a prophet/messenger, anymore than JSmith is a prophet. Yes, I looked quite a bit into him as well. Once, again a very interesting subject.

I don’t know if I come across as adversarial, I don’t want to come across that way. In your opinion, is there a way to be a non-believer in EGW, that would not be adversarial? I’m curious how that looks to you?

I don’t believe that I would think this was “inspiration”, they just read information and then made a claim for themselves that wouldn’t make sense to me. I don’t think this is a very good comparison to what EGW/SDA church claim about her.

I think the “adversarial” tone that you keep referring to, may be in the eye of the beholder. The fact that he found a career in the secular history world doesn’t mean anything sinister to me. I don’t see the issue with this. Many religions, whether quaint, or not, are interesting topics…don’t know if I would call them “targets”.

Absolutely! Many LDS have have come to far different conclusions regarding JSmith/Mormonism in the last 20 (?) years, than what they were told by their church leaders while growing up Mormon.

I think I’m rational and fair…:thinking: :wink: :slightly_smiling_face:

(Ikswezdyr) #71

Actually I appreciate your honest reply. I would rather one just say they don’t believe this was a “prophet” than make attacks (on others beliefs). I don’t see inspiration as most do. I think many great religious thinkers (like NT Wright) are inspired by God on various subjects. True, they don’t have visions, but EGW didn’t have public visions later. Using the term “I was shown” is legitimate–like being enlightened. I have had those moments. We also put our own modern meaning on the word “prophet” when “prophetic voice” would be more accurate. Luther had many flaws, but he was also a prophetic voice for his time.
But I believe she did have visions–I don’t know how or why. The result was spiritual, and they helped begin a religious movement that has been a blessing. Her life did reveal fruits of the Spirit and she was a Christian leader. I hold a view different than most because I believe inspiration is broader. I feel it was not plagerism to use writings from others who were inspired. I know today that is considered stealing–but why write something spiritual if you don’t want it to get out there? I doubt God sees it that way–they are His thoughts after all. They can be tested by what we know through the Bible and in principle.
Many years ago I meant a relative of White who knew her as a child. Her name was Mable and she adored the woman as a kindly, motherly person who showed her lots of love.
I once heard Billy Graham use her material in a sermon–the very words. He never gave any credit–and why should he?

(Ikswezdyr) #72

About Ron Numbers, I don’t begrudge his success. I only read the first book on health and felt he took some 19th-century terms literally that are not used today. Like the word “insane” had a different meaning. They didn’t use neurotic or depressed then. It’s been awhile, and I don’t remember the others. However, my problem is that most scholars doing a book like that do not take an adversarial role but even have words of admiration for their subjects. This makes it more balanced. I really try to look at the whole picture of a person’s life (or book) rather than what I disagree with, and that goes for EGW as well. It is the direction of the writing I did not like and the same with the other detractors. I like an honest work like that done by Graybill.

(George Tichy) #73

Is there any reason why you left out some other things that she also saw? Like for example, a “SHut Door,” or some people who “would be alive at Christ’s return,” or other books that she also “saw at night time” when she was writing her “boox,” and so on…

She did, indeed, see a lot of things! … :wink: :sunglasses:

(George Tichy) #74

Hay que divertirse un poco… No se puede llevar las cosas demasiado en serio!
Aunque la historia de la Iglesia tiene muchos problemas, si nosotros no nos comprometemos mucho con la Denominación, sin duda será más fácil entenderse bien con una Iglesia local donde uno puede congregarse. :+1:

(George Tichy) #75

At leat self-image and self-esteem are really :+1: :+1::+1::+1::+1::+1::+1::+1:

(jeremy) #76

you may not be able to get it, michael…the key to egw isn’t a cognitive understanding of her views, or her history…there’s a separate sense that has to develop in order to understand her purpose and significance…i would argue that this has to happen with the bible writers, as well…i would even go so far as to say that it has to happen in the case of lesser examples of inspiration, like the bach well-tempered clavier, the mozart violin concertos, the beethoven symphonies, the mahler symphonies, the chopin nocturnes, the debussy images, etc., etc…even some painters, like rembrandt, monet and van gogh can’t really be appreciated through a mere cognitive approach…i’ll be in chicago next week listening to the chicago symphony’s rendition of bluebeard’s castle, bartok’s one and only opera…i have no doubt that 99.9% of the people in the audience will have essentially no understanding of the significance of what they’re hearing…probably many of the orchestra players will only look at it as a job they have to do…

keep in mind that i place exactly no weight on egw’s plagiarism…while there are obvious similarities in word choice, sentence structure and theme order between some of her narrative works, like Desire of Ages, and a number of sources known to be in her library, for instance hanna, march and harris, the final power in her output is far different from any of these sources…there are many, many instances where her writing lifts entirely outside of our known world, and in a way that her so-called sources simply don’t…you almost feel sick when you realize you’re reading something, and not actually breathing or touching it…it goes without saying that i don’t believe in verbal inspiration, or that natural effort and research, such as what distinguished beethoven, is somehow antithetical to the action of divine inspiration…it is true that divine inspiration can stand on its own - the natural world we see all around us is an obvious example…but it is also true that human effort, in the case of someone with a real genetic gift, combined with divine inspiration, produces a result that wouldn’t be there without that effort…

the combination of the holy spirit and the kind of effort egw put out for 70+ yrs, not to mention aspects of her very strong, particular personality and talent spectrum, will probably never be equaled…the world she depicts is similar to what you find in the bible, especially in david, isaiah, jeremiah, paul and john, but of course it is much more detailed, much more comprehensive, and much more advanced…there are indications that egw understood that her output was really for a later time, and that none of her contemporaries would appreciate her significance…but it’s actually rare to come across someone who really gets her, even today…so don’t feel bad…it may be the case that it’s the people living through the seven last plagues, and who go on to be translated without experiencing death, who will collectively draw the kind of strength that is so abundant in her writings…

(Nathan Robinson) #77

I admire your ability to so thoroughly enjoy something . . .

But it might be a good reminder that your sense of emotional rapture and awe of EGW is identical to the emotional awe felt by Mormons about the writings of Joseph Smith, and Scientologists about the writings of L. Ron Hubbard, and only seems to be outdone by the outpouring of “emotion” North Koreans displayed when Kim Jong Il died.

Are you using any hyperbole in your writing? I don’t know you personally, but you are either a true believer or you have a unique and subtle sense of humor. Either way, God bless you.

(Steve Mga) #78

Antony –
Yes! Jesus LOVED to sit at table with food and drink surrounded by Sinners
who actually provided the food and drink.
When we think about it closely, these “Sinners” were Unchurched, mostly
because they were NOT allowed to attend church in their day.
There are many “Sinners” who are NOT allowed to fellowship in SDA churches.
But praise God! There are a few congregations, at least in North America, who
DO allow “Sinners” into Full Fellowship with them.
The World Church gathering in South Africa put the World Church on NOTICE as
to “Sinners” NOT being welcome in the SDA church at large.

(Carlo Schroeder) #79

Ellen White was not perfect, but more important to me, she was a woman. Who wrote and published material in a era were women were regarded as inferior, uneducated, and not logical. Sounds familiar, today we face the same mind set of many Adventist leader, who regard and preach that women are not only inferior, but are subject to men. So when we bash or ridicule her writings, so what if it was not perfect, we give the radical minded Adventist the opportunity to destroy one of the most important women figured in the church.

It is for us to remember that our representative church government system, which stated that there should never be a president of a conference, came from God via her. I my country we need that model she gave urgently back, because we are heading in a totalitarian regime. Just this last weekend, again, women were told to know there place, the union representative used the Koran to show how women must dress, then imply, " if they can do it, why can’t we". The Central Mexican Union has taken upon itself to ensure that no women will be ordained as elder or deconess. Were I am, no women preaches any more, it is totally Madness.

(Michael Wortman) #80

Thanks, Jeremy. I’m glad that Mrs. White provides a richness in your life. Although I can’t personally relate to it, I do understand the relationship of spirituality and genius as it relates to the arts. Interesting that you mention Blackbeard’s Castle. I have been listening to parts of it via the Met Opera channel on my satellite car radio and when I worked, often conferences were held in Chicago and with most visits a Chicago Symphony concert was a highlight. Once, included in the concert was a piece of new music for (carpenter’s) saw and orchestra. I had hoped that after having endured campmeeting saw solos in my childhood, I would no longer be exposed. That such an august musical entity would reintroduce me to that instrument tickled me.

What troubles me about Mrs. White’s influence in the church is the anger she and her writings seem to induce. Some on the left can’t seem to get over the hurt the use of her writings has caused them and have a need to revisit that hurt over and over. Some on the right are so defensive of her place in the church that they feel justified in condemning non-White believers to Hell or at least to other churches. My own test of the effectiveness of Christianity is how well people with differing beliefs and personalities can get along with each other, share the same pews, live in the same communities. Therefore I am all for not talking about Mrs. White, but that obviously is not about to happen (and maybe it shouldn’t.)

(Robert King) #81

"In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of prophets and apostles. In these days He speaks to them by the testimonies of His Spirit. There was never a time when God instructed His people more earnestly than He instructs them now concerning His will and the course that He would have them pursue.” [Testimonies for the Church 4:147, 148 (1876).] {5T 661.1}

“The Lord has seen fit to give me a view of the needs and errors of His people. Painful though it has been to me, I have faithfully set before the offenders their faults and the means of remedying them… Thus has the Spirit of God pronounced warnings and judgments, withholding not, however, the sweet promise of mercy"… {5T 661.2}

“In a second vision, which soon followed the first, I was shown the trials through which I must pass, and that it was my duty to go and relate to others what God had revealed to me. It was shown me that my labors would meet with great opposition and that my heart would be rent with anguish, but that the grace of God would be sufficient to sustain me through all. The teaching of this vision troubled me exceedingly, for it pointed out my duty to go out among the people and present the truth.” {5T 655.1}

Dr. Knights words>
::Probably the most widespread problem with the church today regarding Ellen White’s ministry and writings is that her writings should be used as a Bible commentary and as a source from which to do theology — two ideas she rejected in her lifetime.::

The above quotes contradict the author that Mrs. White work could not be used as theology. It seems that Dr. Knight is misrepresenting sister White writings importance and gift they function for the church. Rev. 12:17, Rev 19:10.