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Myths about Ellen White:
Wrote Steps to Christ

Compiled by D. Anderson

Steps to Christ is a wonderful book about the Christian experience. It is Ellen White's best-selling book, and millions of copies have been printed in many different languages. Adventists sometimes point to this book as evidence of Mrs. White's prophetic ministry.

Unfortunately, there is little evidence that Mrs. White actually wrote the book. Unlike many of her other books, there are no handwritten pages of Steps to Christ in existence. According to the White Estate, the book was put together by Mrs. White's "editorial assistants." The most likely author of the book is Fannie Bolton. Ms. Bolton joined Ellen White's staff in 1888, and Steps to Christ was published in 1892.

Edward Ballenger was acquainted with Fannie Bolton and made the following notarized statement in 1952:

"...during the period 1895-97 I was told in person by Miss Bolton in Battle Creek that she had written the book Steps to Christ and that Mrs. White had taken the MSS and had published it under her own name."
(To examine the notarized letter and the White Estate statement regarding the book click here)
While this claim cannot be proven or disproven, it certainly fits into Ellen White's pattern of taking the writings of others and making them her own. Here are some examples of where the words of other authors were copied into Steps to Christ without giving credit to the real authors:

...the father loves us, not in consequence of the great propitiation, but that he provided the propitiation because he loved us; because he was bent on obtaining a medium through which he could pour out the ocean-fulness of his love upon us.
(John Harris, The Great Teacher, (1837) pp. 105-106)
The Father loves us, not because of the great propitiation, but He provided the propitiation because He loves us. Christ was the medium through which He could pour out His infinite love upon a fallen world.
(Steps to Christ, (1896) page 13)
'Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again because I lay down my life for the sheep;' in other words, 'My Father loves you with a love so unbounded, that he even loves me the more for dying to redeem you. ... by sustaining your liabilities, by surrendering my life as an equivalent for your transgressions...the Father loves me...
(John Harris, The Great Teacher, (1837) p. 106)
Jesus said, "Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again." John 10:17. That is, "My Father has so loved you that He even loves Me more for giving My life to redeem you. In becoming your Substitute and Surety, by surrendering My life, by taking your liabilities, your transgressions, I am endeared to My Father..."
(Steps to Christ, (1896) page 14)
By prayer the Christian can open his heart to God, as to a friend.
(John Bunyan, The Whole Works of John Bunyan, "On Praying in the Spirit", (1862), p. 623)
Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend.
(Steps to Christ, (1896) page 93)

The authorship of the first chapter of Steps to Christ is especially in dispute. The first chapter was added when the SDA Church bought back the publishing rights to the book in 1896. The original Steps to Christ published in 1892 did not have the first chapter entitled "Godís Love for Man."

Other material used in Steps to Christ came from Mrs. White's previously published writings (for example, paragraph 1, p. 12 from RH 12/16/1884; paragraph 1, 2, p. 15 from 4T 563, 46; the chapter on "Confession" from ST 3/16/1888 and 5T 635-641; page 83 from 3T 246, 247; pages 121-123 from RH 2/3/1885).


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