Right Steve - “Spiritual Gifts” was the first Little Book. Then more and more details were remembered, the books got bigger and bigger, with chapters researched, written and added by the Bookmaker Editorial Team, and Hey Presto! The royalties are still rolling in…
When I read your three-paragraph response to @mwortman1—where you compare the experience of reading Ellen G. White’s work as akin to listening to music, or looking at art—a few thoughts come to mind:
To begin, an ultra-subjective argument for the utility of White’s work may be both the strongest, and weakest, case for her value. That is, it’s akin to making such a contention for listening to Beethoven, or Brand Nubian, or looking at the work of Monet, or PHASE 2: In all of these cases, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
When I hear Rammellzee & Shock Dell’s 1983 “Beat Bop,” the experience I have is often transcendent. (I’ve felt the same way, looking at Jackson Pollock’s “Number 1,” as my tribute to the artist may suggest.)
If I send you a link to these works, and you have a similar reaction, we can correspond about this. But if all you hear, or see, is noise, that ends the discussion.
You seem to argue for a response to EGW that is as personal as one’s reaction to music or visual art. The difference being, however, that the greatness of the above artists’ works lies in an abstract, aesthetic realm; one where the majority of their coin is based on people liking the way these objects look or sound to them. (The sole exceptions may be the work of Brand Nubian, and Beethoven’s choral works, because rap music, and “Ode To Joy,” have objective, semantic content that can be weighed for meaning, and thus value, apart from their instrumentation.)
But the same is true for Ellen G. White. Your argument—that we can grok EGW on a seemingly pre-cognitive level of pure pleasure—is original, and if true, would certainly deeply connect those who experience the same, to her, and to each other, much as one would be drawn by any work of art having a similar effect.
The problem, though, is as I’ve said:
Aesthetic objects are mostly irrelevant to those without similar aesthetics, and
Such an argument for EGW chiefly fails, because her work is semantic, and not abstract. Even though, it’s true, semantic objects may possess subjective qualia—Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18, Hebrews 11, or Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus come to mind—they live or die, usually, based on their contentions, and these, typically, to be valuable, must mean something that Michael can get.
Historically speaking, God’s true prophets have not been well received. (This includes Jesus.)
I thank God for the prophetic gift He has given to His remnant church. He knew that the last part of the journey to the heavenly Canaan would be very difficult because of the deceptive tactics of the enemy. Therefore, He gave us a prophet. Some of us Adventists have chosen to despise this prophetic gift as Esau despised his birthright.
God chose a prophet with very little formal education and directed her to written materials that expressed very well what He wanted her to communicate to His people. Instead of focusing on how well the “borrowed” materials were selected, some of us have chosen to fall for enemy’s tactic to use this to discredit her writings and her as a true prophet.
Without being judgmental, I believe that some of the reasons why she or her writings are rejected is because of the high standards of holiness she or her writings promote in preparation for meeting Christ at His coming and because of the desire to reject the interpretation of scriptures revealed to her so that we can introduce our own.
If the amount of time that we spend attacking Sister White was used to meditate upon her writings, we would have a stronger relationship with Jesus.
I’m not sure why you wrote to me. I don’t think that anything I said, in my post to @vandieman, controverts the points that you’ve made. At the same time, unless I’m missing something, nothing that you’ve written is responsive to what I’ve said.
My response to vandieman was based on his conjecture of EGW’s collected writings as a highly subjective aesthetic object. He literally compared them to music, or art.
To me, her works are utilitarian, my argument being that there is nothing more utilitarian than instructions on how to get to heaven and avoid hell.
But while utilitarian objects may be greatly valued, access to their contents should not be subjective, let alone deeply so. Shakespeare’s sonnets are lovely to contemplate. But one wouldn’t want instructions for taking cancer medicine, or landing the Boeing 737 Max 8, written in that manner.
Sorry. My posting was not meant for you. It was not meant for anyone in particular.
Not a problem. And, having clarified that, I would like to say this re: your statement:
From a certain perspective, everything you’ve said is true. That perspective, though, is probably not the perspective held by most on this forum.
That is not to say, again, that what you’ve said is not true, but to say it’s probably not communicating.
I mean this in the way that many SDAs mean, for example, when they say that, if witnessing, one should not quote Sr. White to prove biblical points, because she is not considered authoritative among people who aren’t Adventist.
There may be people who question White’s authority, as a way to avoid submitting to it, as you suggest. But it seems ungenerous to imagine that that is the sole issue at play.
For example, there are people who have stated problems with a “prophet” who takes another writer’s work, without permission, but says she got it from an angel.
I don’t know what you do for a living, but I’m guessing that that excuse would not fly at your job. Since it wouldn’t, the suggestion that, if you passed off someone else’s work as your own, we should ignore the theft, and credit the act to God’s will, seems, in like manner, DOA.
I reckon that my view on ‘private letters’ are just that ‘private’. However if there is some general principles involved perhaps a person could find some helpful advice there in. If they were meant for ‘everyone’, I would have an issue with them. Again, way too much of her writings were published, in my opinion. When her published works stacks many time higher than the Bible and person are taking it all as the ‘word of God’, well, Houston, we have a problem!! Time and place for everything.
Throwing the baby out with the bathwater, aren’t we?
The key to the GC presidency is three fold. An advanced degree of some source. international experience, strong on Ellen White. There have been few exceptions since 1919. Ellen was hit by a stone close to her nose. She has had a wax nose ever since. Paul has taken second place to “I was shown”. The only thing worse was her grandson Arthur White.
Hurry up, you have only 5 days left to make your case before this topic closes automatically!..
Thanks George, won’t go into details here but it seems we keep rehashing the same-old, same-old tired criticisms about EGW’s credibility, as if these haven’t been adequately responded to by Knight, Jud Lake, EGW estate and others (and why I don’t need to repeat them here).
But no, people will still focus on this stain, or that black spot, i.e. on what they want to gripe about, be it her health, her visions, her copying, etc. And throw her away for one or two things they dislike with the bathwater. These people, I think, allow the tree to blind them to the forest. Or they take the ears or tusks of the elephant to be it. Funny thing is, people who don’t or hardly read EGW (except to attack) are the most vocal critics, while those who’ve been most blessed by EGW are just grateful to the Lord for the gift of a prophet to the church, bugger the rest (as they say in Australia).
Well BP, for me there is no amount of excuses that can justify someone copying texts from others and publishing them as their own. Also, “I was shown” being declared about texts copied from others seems to me completely out of place. And then, “The Shut Door Story”…
Regarding lawyers being paid by the GC to “verify and confirm” the legitimacy and lawfulness of that copying is, for me, a joke - a disrespect to people with an IQ superior to 80… We know what lawyers can do, and, by the way, I haven’t yet met one single lawyer that wouldn’t do “anything” as long as being paid; morality and honesty is not their “forte.” I hope before I die I will meet one, just one lawyer who could be trusted…
Anyway, let me be clear, all these things I referred to are good only for me. I don’t expect others to agree with me, and I don’t consider wrong those who put EGW at the center of their spiritual life. If it works for them, great. Been there, done that!
It’s only that, for me, the only source of belief and doctrine is the Bible. I don’t understand why some Adventists are so much sold to EGW no matter what (not referring to you here) and criticize those who decided to go by “Sola Scriptura.” Isn’t the Bible self- sufficient? In my opinion, saying that the Bible is not sufficient is a concrete example of committing sacrilege.
One more thing to clarify regarding, “…people who don’t or hardly read EGW (except to attack) are the most vocal critics…” I was a hard reader of EGW for many years. I though Bible classes (HS) and preached occasionally, utilizing EGW to “substantiate” my teachings and sermons. I read basically all of her books available in those days (not the post-mortem published more recently… …). I could give people a good “lesson on the SOP.” But then…, more information transpired in the early 80’s, and I could no longer do it, I had to change and, to be on the safe side, I decided that the Bible was as sufficient for me as it had been for Hus, Luther, Calvin, Wycliffe, the Ballenger brothers, Ford, and many others.
Those who read EGW for spiritual support and encouragement do a good and right thing. I like Stott, Ford, Bonhoeffer, and a few others better. Just me…
(I apologize for the length of this post. I usually stay withing the 2 paragraphs limit… )
Adventists will change. Too many people mention EGW as their belief system. We don’t even read The Bible with as much gusto as EGW. We ignore a lot of Paul’s teachings…because, well, we don’t base our salvation on women covering their heads or jewelry. We must read EGW the same way we do The Bible…that is, knowing what our salvation is based on. Don’t even get me started on the catholic church as the beast and sunday laws. Two concepts that are going further and further the other way. https://the-undercover-adventist.blogspot.com/2018/08/why-do-we-read-bible-differently-than.html
To my mind the SDA church was founded primarily to sell EGW writings
If her messages were from God why did she receive money from ?
The article mentions Ellen G. White teachers. Unbelievable! But…maybe not. I understand that a Lutheran seminary may teach courses on Luther’s theology. But, that doesn’t carry the claims of prophetic authority with it. This just sounds more and more like a cult, with a focus on extra biblical authority that means nothing to anyone outside of the cult.
EGW Estate answers this at Ellen G. White’s Financial Affairs
Under the section " Was Ellen White a millionaire?
"More than once in her ministry, Ellen White was confronted by reports that she was accumulating great wealth because of her book royalties. Here is her direct response to one detractor, written in 1897 while she lived in Australia:
“You have made reports in reference to me being rich. How did you know I was? For about ten years I have been working on borrowed property. Should I sell all that I have in my possession, I would not have sufficient to pay my outstanding debts….”
Appears to be less and less likely…
Gallup: Number Of Americans Who Are Members Of A Church Is In Steep Decline, At 80-Year Low