Commentary: Resolution on the Spirit of Prophecy (Ellen White)
By Brother Anderson, August 14, 2005
In May of 2005, we made an open appeal to the attendees of the 2005 SDA General Conference Session in St. Louis to "Admit Ellen White is not the Spirit of Prophecy." Sadly, but predictably, the Church has done the exact opposite by boldly reaffirming their reliance upon the writings of Ellen White. Here is the resolution:
VOTED, To approve the Resolution on the Spirit of Prophecy, which reads as follows:
Resolution on the Spirit of Prophecy
As delegates to the 2005 General Conference Session in St Louis, Missouri, we acknowledge that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has been richly blessed by the Lord through the gift of prophecy manifested in the ministry and writings of Ellen G White. Through it the Lord guided the development of the Church from a small number of members to a worldwide movement entrusted with the proclamation of a message of salvation in Christ and the hope of His soon return in glory. Her ministry has directly contributed to the preservation of the unity of the Church and has sustained it in difficult times. Her writings continue to be a most positive influence in the life of the Church, providing for it comfort, guidance, instruction, correction, and theological stimulus. Their study will constantly lead the Church back to the Bible as the very foundation of faith and practice.
As delegates, we affirm the important role the writings of Ellen G White still play in nurturing the Adventist movement and in preserving the unity of the world Church. Consequently, we call upon Seventh-day Adventists throughout the world to prayerfully study her writings, in order to understand more fully God's purpose for His remnant people. We call upon church leaders at all administrative levels to plan and facilitate the promotion and study of the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy in their respective fields. We call upon our youth to acquaint themselves with the wealth of divine counsel found in these writings because it will greatly enrich their lives as they serve the Lord and fellow human beings.
Notice the following points:
1. The resolution is entitled "Spirit of Prophecy" and the first sentence says Ellen G. White manifested the "gift of prophecy." This bold and brazen resolution should leave no doubt in anyone's mind where the SDA Church stands on Ellen G. White. The Church proclaims unabashedly that she was a prophet and is identified as the Spirit of Prophecy of Revelation 19:10.
2. Her writings "guided" the church from its inception through today. Whereas most Christian churches look to the Bible for guidance, the SDA Church is guided first and foremost by the writings of Ellen G. White. Sure, any Church leader will tell you the Church is guided by Scripture. But remember, that is Scripture as interpreted through the writings of Ellen White!
3. Her writings provide "guidance, instruction, correction, and theological stimulus". This statement sounds like a paraphrase of 2 Timothy 3:16, where Paul says of the Bible: "All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." In effect, this statement is assigning Ellen White's writings the same role as is played by Scripture in other Christian churches. (By the way, please don't ask me what "theological stimulus" means!)
4. Studying her writings will supposedly "lead the Church back to the Bible". It seems to me that if the Church wanted to be "led back to the Bible" that they would tell their people to read the Bible instead of some other writings! Again, the SDA Church is not anti-Bible. They simply want people to understand the Bible as interpreted through the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy.
5. The writings provide "unity" to the Church. By "unity" the Church means that Ellen White's interpretation of Scripture must be the prevailing interpretation. When there is a divergence of opinion upon a Bible passage, if Ellen White commented on that passage somewhere in her 100,000 pages of writings, then the Church must follow her interpretation. That is how "unity" is maintained in the Church.
6. Her writings should be prayerfully studied "in order to understand more fully God's purpose for His remnant people." Apparently God's purpose for the SDA Church cannot be readily obtained from Scripture, so the people are instead directed to the writings of Ellen White in order to discern that purpose.
7. Church leaders at all levels are to promote the study of her writings. Why all of this sudden concern regarding Ellen White's writings? Why are Church employees being called upon to promote her writings now? Is it because her authority in the church has been compromised in recent years? If you are a Church leader, and you do not regard Ellen White as a prophet, this decree may place you in a difficult position. It may be time for you to reconsider your calling in the SDA Church.
8. The youth are called upon to read the "divine counsel" found in her writings. It just doesn't get any plainer than this. The General Conference in session, the body that Ellen White called the highest authority upon earth, has declared that her writings are "divine counsel". Webster's explains the carefully selected words found in the resolution: "Divine: of, relating to, or proceeding directly from God". "Counsel: advice...plan of action or behavior".
An Appeal to SDA Pastors and Teachers
I know some of you who read this web site are SDA pastors, teachers, administrators, doctors, and professors. I know that many of you do not believe Ellen White's writings should be described as "divine counsel". In fact, as you read this resolution you were probably shocked, disappointed, and perhaps even horrified at the thought of calling her writings "divine". You have kept silent for many years. You haven't made Ellen White a big issue. But now you have a choice to make. You have been called upon to promote Ellen White. What will you do? The time for silence is past. Now is the time for you to take a stand upon the Bible and the Bible alone. Now is the time for you to stand up say to your congregations, your students, your employees, "As for me and my family, we will find our divine counsel in the Bible!"