OF RELIGION Field Guide to the

This material regarding the writings of Ellen G. White is part of a Field Guide profile

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Some outside the SDA denomination may be under the false impression that the official leadership of the Church has, in recent years, been down-grading the importance of the teachings of Ellen G White (EGW) in the organization. This is an inaccurate view, perhaps based upon exposure to some of those still within the organization who are aware of the extremely serious allegations of plagiarism and deception documented against EGW in recent decades.


Indeed, there are some within the organization who wish that they could extricate the denomination from its enmeshment with White's teachings, and who have made some attempts to influence the denomination toward that direction. But such reformers have not been successful in their efforts.


Below are pieces of information from recent official denominational discussions that clarify the role of White's writings in the SDA Church's teachings. Note that the term "Spirit of Prophecy" is the short-hand way that SDA members speak of the accumulated writings of EGW.




The following is the current official statement, appearing on the denomination’s official website in 2011, on the role of the writings of EGW.  Section 18, “The Gift of Prophecy,” in the official Statement of Beliefs declares (emphasis added):


One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen. G. White . As the Lord's messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction.




The SDA denomination holds an international General Conference every five years. Matters of denominational concern are reviewed and voted on. If anyone thinks that such conferences in recent decades have down-played the central role of Ellen G White in the denomination, they are in error. The denominational leaders have, instead, taken pains to publicly reinforce the traditional SDA emphasis on White’s writings.





Below is an official statement on the role of EGW's writings from the 1995 SDA General Conference in Utrecht, Netherlands (emphasis added) …


A Statement of Confidence in the Spirit of Prophecy


We, the delegates assembled in Utrecht for the fifty-sixth session of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, express praise and thanksgiving to God for His gracious gift of the Spirit of Prophecy.


In Revelation 12, John the Revelator identifies the church in the last days as the "remnant . . . which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (verse 17). We believe that in this brief prophetic picture the Revelator is describing the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which not only keeps "the commandments of God" but has "the testimony of Jesus Christ," which is "the spirit of prophecy" (Revelation 19:10).


In the life and ministry of Ellen G White (1827-1915), we see God's promise fulfilled to provide the remnant church with the "spirit of prophecy." Although Ellen G White did not claim the title "prophet," we believe she did the work of a prophet, and more. She said: "My commission embraces the work of a prophet, but it does not end there" (Selected Messages, Book One, p 36); "If others call me by that name [prophetess], I have no controversy with them" (ibid., p 34); "My work includes much more than this name signifies. I regard myself as a messenger, entrusted by the Lord with messages for His people" (ibid., p 36).


Ellen G White's chief burden was to direct attention to the Holy 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" (Review and Herald, January 20, 1903). She believed that although her writings are a "lesser light," they are light, and that the source of this light is God.


As Seventh-day Adventists, we believe that "in His Word God has committed to men the knowledge necessary for salvation. 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" (The Great Controversy, p 7). We consider the biblical canon closed. However, we also believe, as did Ellen G White's contemporaries, that her writings carry divine authority, both for godly living and for doctrine. Therefore, we recommend:


   1) That as a church we seek the power of the Holy Spirit to apply to our lives more fully the inspired counsel contained in the writings of Ellen G White, and


   2) That we make increased efforts to publish and circulate these writings throughout the world.


This statement was approved and voted by the General Conference session in Utrecht, the Netherlands, June 30, 1995.





From http://www.truthorfables.com/Why_Remain_SDA.htm


   (Robert K Sanders)


Some SDAs conclude they are free of EGW because they do not accept her or her teachings as being from God and their pastor does not quote her from the pulpit. Think about this, would you have the same reasoning if you were a member of the Latter Day Saints Church, or the Jehovah's Witnesses, or Christian Scientists, etc.?


Your local church may be not outwardly promoting EGW but the fact remains that the SDA Denomination does promote EGW as Central in their beliefs as recorded in the 2000 General Conference Session in Toronto. I will give two excepts from it:


SDANEWS: Official Text: Resolution on the Gift of Prophecy Through the Ministry of Ellen G. White


From: Clarence Thomas IV (clt4@compuserve.com)

Date: Wed Jul 05 2000 - 05:58:36 EDT


3. We urge that efforts be intensified to inform all church members, especially the youth and those new to our faith, concerning the role and value of this gift in the experience of Seventh-day Adventists. We also encourage increased circulation of the Ellen G White books as well as concerted study programs throughout the world utilizing those Ellen G White books available to our members.


VIOLETO F. BOCALA: I am very happy, Mr. Chairman, that we have this recommendation on hand. I think we need to give more emphasis to the Spirit of Prophecy. Our people sometimes forget that the church is guided by the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy, without which I think we will likely fragment. In the Southern Asia-Pacific Division we have just taken an action that for the next five years we will promote Sprit of Prophecy reading just as we do Bible reading, promoting a different book of the Conflict of the Ages Series each year.


Here is the problem with the conclusion that EGW is not mentioned in their church. Most SDA members only know the Bible as it was taught to them in Bible Studies, Bible Seminars and the Sabbath School Quarterly by the church. The members do not realize that they are spoon fed Ellen White's private interpretation of the Bible each week. When the pastor preaches from the pulpit, they interject EGW's teachings without giving her credit and the members sit in the pew soaking it up as if it was biblical. [End of Sanders Quote.]








General Conference 2010, Atlanta, GA.






We, the delegates to the 2010 General Conference Session in Atlanta, Georgia,

acknowledge with gratitude the continuing contribution to the Seventh-day Adventist Church found in the writings and ministry of Ellen G White. We are witnesses to how the Church has been blessed and guided by God through the inspired counsel of His messenger. Her counsels exalt the Bible as the Word of God, lift up Jesus as Creator and Redeemer of the world, and encourage a life of service and sacrifice. Her ministry has directly aided in the preservation of unity in the Church and its expanding global outreach.



The gift of prophecy, like the other spiritual gifts, is to bring about unity, equip God’s

people for the work of ministry, build up the body of Christ, protect it from being deceived by false doctrine, and foster individual and collective spiritual growth (Ephesians 4:11-15). We recognize in Ellen G White the gift of prophecy, and affirm that as this gift is valued and its instruction heeded, the Church prospers.



Consequently, we express our gratitude to God for His gracious gift in the prophetic

ministry of Ellen G White. We call upon Seventh-day Adventists everywhere to prayerfully study her messages and benefit from the inspiration and instruction found there. We encourage the teachers and administrators of our educational institutions and the leaders of our health-care facilities and publishing houses to review her counsels for their areas of service. We urge pastors to make use of these writings in their sermon preparation and in their planning with the members for the mission of their churches. We appeal to Church administrators at every level to exert their influence in affirming the importance of these writings for the Church and to continue efforts to make these writings available to church members at affordable cost. And we affirm our commitment to “believe His prophets” (2 Chronicles 20:20), that we may prosper in fulfilling our mission to the world and thus hasten the coming of Jesus.







On June 25, 2010, Ted Wilson, Vice President and son of former General Conference president, was elected to succeed Jan Paulson as the President of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. He will lead that 16.3 million member protestant organization for the next five years.


According to Adventist News Network, Wilson was appointed by the 246 member nominating committee and confirmed by the rest of the delegates at the General Conference session in Atlanta.


Wilson identified the denomination as “God’s remnant church” in a statement after his appointment. In addition, he noted that he would gain help from the Bible, other counselors, and the writings of Ellen G. White.


…Wilson has served the denomination as a pastor, director, assistant director, departmental director, executive secretary, president of the Review and Herald Publishing, and most recently General Vice President.


Wilson is the son of Neal C. Wilson who was president of the denomination from 1979 through 1990.




   Unless otherwise noted, all original material on this Field Guide website

   is © 2001-2011 by Pamela Starr Dewey.


   Careful effort has been made to give credit as clearly as possible to any specific material quoted or ideas extensively adapted from any one resource. Corrections and clarifications regarding citations for any source material are welcome, and will be promptly added to any sections which are found to be inadequately documented as to source.


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The Role of Ellen G White?