Ellen White: The Ultimate X-Factor in Adventist Hermeneutics

Except everyone knew it was Aaron speaking. In contrast, EGW never gave any written credit to her ghost writers, the actual writers of the books attributed to her.

Continue to justify the dishonesty…



The SDA church will never progress from its near cult like dynamics with such an albatross around its neck. It has set up a pope speaking ex cathedra that is always on the throne. It has a double layered fundamentalism with its approved views of the Bible, then hardened and ossified by the pronouncements of the prophetess.

Error has at times become ensconced as truth because those pronouncements can never be safely challenged. Dissidence from the party line is unsafe, and is often punished. Too much of the denomination’s self identity and reason for being is wrapped up in her, her authority, and its impact on the church’s self perceived role in salvation history to allow such.

No real growth in biblical understanding or maturity can happen in such a climate. A climate that easily crosses into toxicity, ignorance, and/or fanaticism. There is evidence right here on this thread…never mind in Silver Springs, and in congregations across the world.



but did they all realize that Aaron was only saying what Moses told him to say…that is, did Aaron disclose that Moses was telling him to say what he was saying, or was it the case that people assumed that Aaron was speaking of his own volition…and was it also the case that both Moses and Aaron were OK with what they knew was that erroneous assumption…

i do agree that egw should have credited both her editors and sources, but i don’t see this issue in the terms you and others do…for one thing, egw didn’t believe that even she was the source of her messages - this isn’t a case of not giving credit in order to hoard as much lime-light as possible…we know that Marian Davis was famous for quipping “the earth was the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof”, when it came to giving anyone credit for their productions, which was her way of saying that it didn’t matter who did what, or where the vehicle of language they used came from…their whole mindset was not how we tend to see it…

and the only real wrench in this arrangement came much later, during Fanny Bolton’s brief tenure…Fanny was admitted into an insane asylum on three occasions that we know of, as this is how mental illness was dealt with at the time…but insane asylums aside, i think it’s quite doubtful that anyone in egw’s orbit would have missed that something was up with Fanny, or taken anything she said particularly seriously…my impression is that they all understood she was a charity case…

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Because the idea of “sola scriptura” as it is now used is neither plausible nor what Luther had in mind, it should be retired in favor of “prima scriptura.” No Christian community has ever based its beliefs on nothing but scripture and none ever will. On the one hand, there are things in the Bible that we should not believe today. On the other hand, there are things which are not in the Bible that we should. “Sola Scriptura” is an idol which we should treat
like Aaron treated the Golden Calf.


Jeremy…read the Torah. One sees Moses directly addressing the Israelites more and more as the narrative progresses. Aaron fades into the background as speaker, especially after the golden calf.

And Fanny was a charity case who was largely responsible for the readable form of Steps To Christ, who also suffered abuse at the hands of your heroine.

Grasping at straws comes to mind…



Let’s get past the idol of the in house prophetess as well…



i think you may be confused over when Moses felt inadequate to speak (there’s also the issue of whom he was being called to speak to: obviously he wasn’t reluctant to speak to two Hebrews striving together the day after his murder of the Egyptian overlord)…in the case of Moses’ reluctance, and feelings of inadequacy, we’re not talking post-Exodus, but pre-Exodus, Moses, when he was first given his commission…let’s not forget that Moses is credited with Psalm 90, which is anything but ineloquent, or awkward…

not only that, but “sola scriptura” isn’t biblical…and there’s no reason why a group of catholic fathers should be allowed to determine when and where inspiration begins and ends…

it’s this slippery slope, and its urgency, that i think the ongoing gift of prophecy is meant to help clarify…but it’s the reality that we’re at a bit of a disadvantage because we don’t have a living prophet among us…

This is only your perceived reality as opposed to an absolute certainty.

Further, it seems you have placed yourself at a huge disadvantage due to your limited definition of the term “living prophet”.

Indeed, one suspects you probably wouldn’t recognize such a person even if he or she were staring you in the face or was refuting your comments on the internet.

Just sayin’!!!


This is an excellent and accurate commentary, in my view. I don’t think one has to denigrate the importance of White’s ministry in the founding of our church or her continued devotional value in order to recognize that her writings, so characteristic in many ways of the 19th century Biblical scholarship reflected in and sometimes copied into her works (presumably by her assistants), have often been used to freeze discussion and truncate ongoing research or even to double down on what might now be widely recognized as a mistaken understanding. I have never heard it seriously suggested that her works should be part of the canon.

“Even though we are aware of gaping holes in the road, we find ourselves unwilling or maybe incapable of making the necessary repairs to prevent the church bus from breaking an axle.”

I love this illustration…so apt.


In a way, it’s happened already. One cannot be baptized today without FIRST swearing allegiance to all 28 Fundamental Beliefs. So much for the Gospel.


Just wondering - for those who were baptized before the “28” (and counting) was canonized, might there be a “grand-father clause,” on the baptismal certificate, or do we need a refresher course?


here’s a sampling of Fanny’s views of her work:

"Sister White . . . is responsible for every thought, for every expression, in her writings. Every manuscript that is edited goes back to her for examination, . . . .

Now as far as changing Sister White’s expressions are concerned, I can say that just as far as it is consistent with grammar and rhetoric, her expressions are left intact."—DF 445b, Fannie Bolton to Miss Malcolm, Nov. 11, 1894. . . .

"The editors in no wise change Sister White’s expression if it is grammatically correct, and is an evident expression of the evident thought. Sister White, as human instrumentality, has a pronounced style of her own, which is preserved all through her books and articles, that stamps the matter with her individuality.

Many times her manuscript does not need any editing, often but slight editing, and again, a great deal of literary work; but article or chapter, whatever has been done upon it, is passed back into her hands by the editor, and the Spirit of Prophecy then appropriates the matter, and it becomes, when approved, the chosen expression of the Spirit of God."—DF 445a, “A Confession Concerning the Testimony of Jesus Christ,” written in early 1901 to “Dear Brethren in the Truth.”

it’s hard to see how the canon could be augmented, given the fact that the bible is the central text of many competing denominations…but i know of at least one attempt to combine the bible with egw books in one volume…this would be the History of Redemption Bible, printed by the Everlasting Gospel Publishing Association on Jan 1, 2001…it’s been sold on Amazon in the past, but is now listed as Out of Print/Limited Availability…i suspect this is the effort of an independent adventist ministry that may have been sued by the GC/White Estate…it’s outline is interesting:

Books of the Old Testament and New Testament

The Old Testament-----------------------------------1
The New Testament----------------------------------649

The History of Redemption Series

Patriarchs and Prophets----------------------------1
Prophets and Kings----------------------------------297
The Desire of Ages-----------------------------------497
The Mount of Blessing-------------------------------797
Christ’s Object Lessons------------------------------847
The Acts of the Apostles-----------------------------963
The Great Controversy------------------------------1131
Steps to Christ-----------------------------------------1389

And yet she knew and was plagued by the reality that many of the thoughts that were supposedly given by God directly to EGW were not her own. They came from many unacknowledged sources and were hidden by EGW. And, Fanny and Marian were in on it, and had to cover. When Fanny began to sing, that’s when the problems started.

You can argue all you want about the practice of the biblical writers, the copyright laws of the day, the practice of other religious writers of her time, it all doesn’t matter. The fact is, EGW claimed direct visionary reception of her messages from God for her writings when it was anything but. Numbers’ book alone blows that away. Prophetic status is not a pass. It was a continual pattern of unethical behavior.

You continued to enable this.



how can you prove that thoughts expressed in egw weren’t in her mind before she used the words of others to express it…how would even Fanny or Marian ascertain what was originally in egw’s mind…and how can you seriously question an approach that fits into their evident earth-is-the-Lord’s mindset, and that’s in character with the practice of the time…

it isn’t a question of enabling what cannot be disproven, and that’s in fact reflected in the considered words of egw’s editors…i think you’re a bit eager to seize on anything you think supports your chosen accusations…

I’ll repeat:

The fact is EGW claimed direct visionary or mental reception of her messages from God for her writings when it was anything but. Numbers’ book alone blows those claims out of the water. It was a continual pattern of unethical behavior and deceptive claims that were intrinsic to the production of her written corpus.

You give her a pass and make excuses. All the other legal, religious, and cultural issues you and her apologists trot out are smoke screens that avoid this and can’t explain this away. That’s called enablement.



Did Ellen White make a decisive contribution to the development of SDA theology? Of course. Should her writings have theological authority today? Of course. Denying either of these is another form of fundamentalism.

Is her authority absolute? No. Nothing human is absolute. Her authority is presumptive.

Like all presumptions, her authoriuty is rebuttable on a case-by-case basis. Disagreeing with her is perfectably acceptable if we have good reasons for doing so. Saying something which is Biblically unsustainable.is one of them. So are being illogical or unscientific. Decency is yet another and so on…

My Student: “Did Paul actually write Hebrews?”

My answer: “Like many others through the centuries. Ellen White thought so. Most Biblical scholarship today disagrees. It is possible that in time she and the others will be proven right; however, this is very unlikely, Meanwhile, the truth of assertions does not depend upon who makes them. It depends upon their merits, all things considered.”

Me continuing: “We are confident that Paul did say: ‘Be open minded. But don’t be gullible. Test everthing. Hang on what to seems true and shelve the rest. Be true to yourself and others,’” I Thessalonians 5: 1`9-22)


Contesting that her writings should continue to have theological authority today is another form of fundamentalism? You just lost me.

Nowhere in Christianity is that mantle given to anyone outside of the scriptures themselves, and even more accurately, God and the spirit themselves. Maybe for a time, when someone is integral to the beginnings of a movement, such as Luther, or Wesley, etc. But, these movements/denominations never bestowed prophetic status upon them, never cited the Bible as support for such, and have moved past the highly objectionable parts of their teachings and beliefs because they had to, and didn’t have the prophetic albatross hanging on their necks to stymie such growth.

SDAism largely hasn’t, your classroom excepted. EGW is the last word, within the administration, and within many congregations worldwide, whether acknowledged or not. That is fundamentalism…even cult like.



Yes, David ! - See me being fascinated by the view the author of the Bible Book book “To the Heberews” displays befor e me - - And accept another sight , when I just ask SDAs, reading, studying and quoting this very Book of the Bible. And then I ask -people around me and also via “Spectrum” : Well, who has written it ?

Just how to see they all deal - with the literarture aspect of dealing with what they read !

Answers : Well, everybody says : Paul ! - Well, I could not accept it, were it not from Pauls pen - - Paul, my Bible says so - I do not care - Any differenvce in style - well, Paul was old already - -

One Bible teacher of our slocal seminary, teaching also Greek of NT . Hapaxlegomena ? Well, I did not see tehm ! And, besides, if Mrs White says that Paul - - well, I have no troubles to also accept Paul as the author !

See, David, that is it! Poor experience with the languiage he teaches, rather the moire poor experience with “worldly literature” through the times and languages "We do not read the poets of Greece, Rome, or Reanisance or - - ") - - and Mrs White has settled the matter.

Just, that is it !

And Prof. Jo Ann Davidson from Andrews University in “Adventist World” March 2019 displays, how some Professor Philipps , dietitian from Purdue University, gives proof of EGWs miraculous foreknowing : “Vinegar is a poison” -

    • Please read all the article there ! -

Whart Philipps says - simply is rubbish ! And Davidsons arguments on this very matter - therefore also are - rubbish ! ( this promoted in the US - edition and in the worldwide edition of “Adventist World”. - -
And I by their names know of people who - according to Mrs Whites disapproval of vinegar as a spice - see this practice as an element of being saved !


Exactly. It’s fine if Adventists read Ellen Whit morning, noon and night; and order their daily lives according to the minute details promoted in these books, as long as they don’t mix “life style” with the salvation offered through Christ in the Bible.