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Did Ellen White Exalt God's Word and Law?
Author: Professor Walter J. Veith, PhD
Publish date:
Summary: The first test of the prophet is whether God's Word and law are exalted in the prophet's life and prophecies.
 
This article is part of a series. We recommend that you first read: Prophecy: God's Guiding Gift, Testing the Prophets.
 

The Word of God

Elen White wrote, "The Holy Scriptures are to be accepted as an authoritative, infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the revealer of doctrines, and the test of experience" (Manuscript 88a, 1900).

Her writings, which collectively are referred to as the Spirit of Prophecy, were never intended to give new light, but were always intended to illuminate the greater light, the Scriptures. She wrote, "Little heed is given to the Bible and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light."i

The written testimonies are not to give new light, but to impress vividly upon the heart the truths of inspiration already revealed. Man's duty to God and to his fellow man has been distinctly specified in God's word; yet but few of you are obedient to the light given. Additional truth is not brought out; but God has through the Testimonies simplified the great truths already given and in His own chosen way brought them before the people to awaken, and impress the mind with them, that all may be left without excuse...The Testimonies are not to belittle the word of God, but to exalt it and attract minds to it, that the beautiful simplicity of truth may impress all (Great Controversy, 7).

The White Family, 1856.
Source: Ellen G. White® Estate Photographs....

To those who criticized the Word of God, she wrote, "Cling to your Bible as it reads and stop your criticism in regard to its validity and obey the word, and not one of you will be lost...The Bible and the Bible alone is to be our creed, the role bond of union...God's word is infallible...lift up the banner on which is inscribed the Bible, our rule of faith and discipline" (Colporteur Ministry, 125).

Just as the great Reformers, Ellen G. White lifted up the Bible banner against false doctrines and practices. She wrote, "As darkness thickens and error increases, we should obtain a more thorough knowledge of the truth, and be prepared to maintain from the Scriptures the truth of our position" (Selected Messages Book 1, 18).

Her position regarding the Word of God is the same as that held by Protestants since the beginning. Protestants have always rejected the claim of Roman Catholicism that tradition as well as Scriptures should dictate beliefs.

The Westminster Confession underscores this point:

The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.ii

Ellen G. White clearly recognizes the role of the Holy Spirit in the interpretation of Scripture as outlined in the Westminster Confession. She wrote this:

We can attain to an understanding of God's word only through the illumination of that Spirit by which the word was given...The fact that God has revealed His will to men through His word, has not rendered needless the continued presence and guiding of the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, the Spirit was promised by our Saviour, to open the Word to His servants, to illuminate and apply its teachings (Review and Herald, August 11, 1853, 53; Medical Ministry 88, 1904).

The Law of God

Ellen White repeatedly pointed to the binding claims of God's law. Joseph Bates, an Adventist pioneer had introduced the Sabbath of the fourth commandment to her. Although she was first skeptical, she and her husband studied the Scriptures and were confirmed in the view that the Sabbath was as binding as the other nine commandments.

One Sabbath, April 3, 1847, Ellen White was given a vision confirming the binding claims of the Ten Commandments and the Sabbath. Concerning the Law of God, she writes this:

But it is ever the purpose of Satan to make void the law of God and to pervert the true meaning of the plan of salvation. Therefore, he has originated the falsehood that the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary's cross was for the purpose of freeing men from the obligation of keeping the commandments of God. He has foisted upon the world the deception that God has abolished His constitution, thrown away His moral standard, and made void His holy and perfect law. Had He done this, at what terrible expense would it have been to Heaven! Instead of proclaiming the abolition of the law, Calvary's cross proclaims in thunder tones its immutable and eternal character (Early Writings, 118).

Likewise she stated that it was the duty of God's children to enlighten others regarding the prophecies and the law of God.

The writings of Ellen White are based on the twin pillars of faith in the merits of Jesus Christ and obedience to His righteous law. Jesus said, "If ye love me keep my commandments" (John 14:15). In Ellen White's writings the relationship between law and grace is clearly expounded. Never does she present a legalistic view of the law of God and never does she belittle its claims. Never does she claim that the law has saving merits. We are saved by grace and grace alone, but a consequence of being saved is that through the merits of Jesus Christ one is once more brought into a right relationship with God, which includes obedience to His law.

Did Ellen White give correct predictions?

 


 

i. Arthur White, Ellen G. White: A Biography Volume 1 (Review and Herald, 1981-1986).

ii. Westminster Assembly, "Of the Holy Scripture," Westminster Confession.

This article is adapted from Truth Matters by Professor Walter J. Veith, an international speaker who has studied Biblical issues in-depth in his quest for truth. His popular series Genesis Conflict brings the debate between Creation and evolution to a new climax as he dissects the arguments with a scientific eye. His highly-acclaimed series Total Onslaught sheds light on the state of the world today as we move to a one-world government and an anticipated apocalypse.
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