The Life of Ellen White by D.M. Canright

Chapter 3 - Claims Made for Her Writings

As Inspired As The Bible

Over and over, Seventh-day Adventists have given Mrs. White the highest possible endorsement. On Feb. 7, 1871, their General Conference passed the following resolution:

"That we reaffirm our abiding confidence in the Testimonies of Sister White to the church, as the teaching of the Spirit of God" (SDA Year Book for 1914, p. 253).

Again they say:

"Our position on the Testimonies is like the keystone to the arch. Take that out, and there is no logical stopping place till all the special truths of the message are gone. . . Nothing is surer than this, that the message and the visions [of Mrs. White] belong together, and stand or fall together"(Review and Herald Supplement, Aug. 14, 1883).

"The Spirit of Prophecy [Mrs. White's writings] is a fundamental part of this message. . . Since the rise of this message, this denomination has believed in the Spirit of Prophecy. We have preached it as widely as we have the Sabbath and other kindred truths, and believe it as thoroughly. . . To us it makes a vast difference whether one whom we have regarded from the rise of this message as being endowed with the prophetic gift is a prophet of God, or whether she is not" (A Statement [by the General Conference Committee], May, 1906, pp. 10, 86).

Notice that this church is built upon Mrs. White and her writings. They liken these writings to the keystone in the arch. The whole structure tumbles if that keystone is left out. Just so, the Seventh-day Adventist Church would fall if Mrs. White's writings were left out, they say, and truly too. By their own confession, that church is not built upon Jesus Christ and the Bible, but upon Mrs. White and her writings. The Protestant rule is, "The Bible, and the Bible only, as the rule of faith and practice." Seventh-day Adventists do not abide by this rule, but add to the Bible the writings of Mrs. White, and make them superior to the Bible; the keystone to their whole system, without which it would fall. Hence, according to their own statement, if left with the Bible only, without her writings, their church would fall. On what, then, is their church founded? On Mrs. White's writings, visions and dreams.

Now read this from G.A. Irwin, many years president of their General Conference. On page 1 of a tract entitled "The Mark of the Beast", he says:

"It is from the standpoint of the light that has come through the Spirit of Prophecy [Mrs. White's writings] that the question will be considered, believing as we do that the Spirit of Prophecy is the only infallible interpreter of Bible principles, since it is Christ through this agency giving the real meaning of his words."

Here we have an infallible female pope endorsed as such by that church. They claim for her exactly the same prerogative which the Catholic Church claims for the Pope; namely, that she is the only infallible interpreter of the Bible. No pope of Rome ever claimed more. The Mormons claim no more for Joseph Smith, nor Christian Scientists for Mrs. Eddy.

Now listen to the claim of inspiration and infallibility for Mrs. Eddy, as voiced in the Christian Science Sentinel, Nov. 4, 1916:

"To grasp the real import of Christian Science, to gain some sense of its infinite scope, t realize its infallibility and render unquestioning obedience thereto, one must perceive it to be a revelation from God, hence unalterable truth. To believe in the inspiration of the Bible, and of 'Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures' by Mrs. Eddy, is a step in the right direction. . . Furthermore, he recognizes the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science as the true and only possible Leader of Christian Scientists."

Here are two women, both living at the same time, teaching exactly opposite religious theories, both claiming to be divinely inspired, and both declared infallible and the only true guide. Which shall we believe?

Editors and ministers of the Adventist Church urge the "testimonies" of Mrs. White upon their people constantly, in their sermons and church papers. They quote her more than they do the Bible, and with the same authority.

Their ministers are required to study her writings with the Bible. Any interpretation she puts on a text, or any statement she makes on a subject, settles it beyond dispute. It is what God says, and that ends it.

Thus Uriah Smith, writing in 1868, before he got his eyes open to the facts, defending her visions, says:

"We discard nothing that the visions have ever taught from beginning to end, from first o last" (The Visions of Mrs. E.G. White, p. 40).

Here is another in the Review and Herald, Oct. 5, 1914:

"As with the ancient prophets, the talking is done by the Holy Spirit through her vocal organs. The prophets spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."

Then again in the same paper, Aug. 26, 1915, is this:

"Think you that he would choose an inferior mouthpiece through whom to instruct the remnant church? On the other hand, as it is the greatest crisis of all ages, we should naturally expect that the mouthpiece God would use for this period would be inferior to none in the past ages."

Language could not be stronger. Mrs. White was not inferior to any of the prophets of past ages. Hence she is equal to Moses, Isaiah, Daniel, Paul, and John the Revelator. This they teach constantly.

Her Writings All Inspired by the Holy Ghost

Now read what Mrs. White claims for her writings. Defining her position, she says:

"In ancient times God spoke through the mouths of prophets and apostles. In these days he speaks to them by the Testimonies of his Spirit" (Testimonies, Vol. IV., p. 148; Vol. V., p. 661).

Here she places herself on a level with all the Bible writers, both prophets and apostles. (See Heb. 1:1,2.) Any one who rejects or opposes her writings is branded as a rebel fighting against God. Thus she says:

"If you lessen the confidence of God's people in the testimonies he has sent them, you are rebelling against God as certainly as were Korah, Dathan and Abirum" ("Testimonies," Vol. V., p. 66).

Here she classes herself in authority with Moses. From this it will be seen that her followers have made no greater claims for her than she made for herself.

She claims that every line she writes, even in a private letter, is directly inspired by God - "the precious rays of light shining from the throne" (same book, p. 67). Of her own words she says: "It is God, and not an erring mortal, that has spoken" (Testimonies, Vol. III., p. 257). She states over and over that those who doubt or oppose her are fighting against God, sinning against the Holy Ghost. Thus: "fighting the Spirit of God. Those. . . who would break down our testimony, I saw, are not fighting against us, but against God" (p. 260).

Again she says:

"When I went to Colorado, I wrote many pages to be read at your camp meeting. . . God was speaking through clay. You might say this communication was only a letter. Yes, it was a letter, but prompted by the Spirit of God, to bring before your minds things that had been shown me. In these letters which I write, . . . I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me. I do not write one article in the paper expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God has opened before me in vision - the precious rays of light shining from the throne" (Testimonies, Vol. V., pp. 63-67).

Notice that she claims to be simply the mouthpiece for God. They are not her words, but God's words, the same as the Bible - God speaking through clay. All through her writings designed especially for her own people may be found expressions of this kind. In her books prepared for the public, however, all these expressions are carefully omitted.

Mrs. White's Bible Seventeen Times as Large as God's Bible

As given in the back part of "Life Sketches of Mrs. White," her books comprise a total of 13,351 pages. A regular Teacher's Bible, good-sized print, contains 771 pages. It will be seen, therefore, that Mrs. White's inspired books are seventeen times as large as our Bible.

Their ministers study all these books the same as God's Bible. An editorial in the Lake Union Herald, Dec. 22, 1915, says: "We would urge all our people to study the 'Testimonies' daily. Our workers, especially, should read them over and over again."

Here are alleged inspired writings, seventeen times as large as the Bible, to be read over and over again! To do this the ordinary person could read little else. Few Bible students read the Bible through in less than a year.

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