Messenger of the Lord


Message and Messenger Inseparable

Robert S. Folkenberg, eighteenth president of the General Conference, summed up the convictions of many, past and present, when he wrote: “Without [the] invaluable contributions from the Spirit of Prophecy, I suspect the Seventh-day Adventist Church wouldn’t even exist. From the earliest days of this movement, Ellen White’s pen and voice have counseled, guided, and led God’s people to a deeper level of spiritual experience, to higher standards of personal living, and to clearer concepts of truth.” 33 MOL 538.15

Dr. Jack Provonsha noted that without Ellen White there would be no Seventh-day Adventist Church today but he warned regarding the church’s future. In reviewing the Adventist movement from its beginning, he asserted: “They had their Bible. But they had in large measure that other ingredient for a religious movement’s vitality—the sense that they had been called by God and that He was in their movement! Had He not vouchsafed His presence with the gift of prophetic guidance? That made all the difference. Without such a sense at the beginning, there would not now even be a Seventh-day Adventist Church, at least one that made a great deal of difference to the world. The obvious corollary to this is that if that sense is ever lost, the church, even if it continues to exist institutionally, may no longer count where and in the way that it is supposed to count.” MOL 538.16

A few pages later, Dr. Provonsha wrote: “I have quoted liberally from Ellen G. White. I make no apology for this. She is my ‘spiritual mother.’ She has also been absolutely central to the life and thought of Adventism.” 34 MOL 538.17

Telling the story of the birth of Israel as a nation is impossible without reviewing the work of Moses, its prophet. How would one explain the Exodus without Moses? Or Mount Sinai? Or why Israel had to wander in the wilderness for forty years? MOL 538.18

So it is impossible to tell the story of the Seventh-day Adventist movement without interweaving Ellen White’s ministry in the affirmation of Biblical doctrine, in the building of a church organization strong enough to support a world church, and in the Moses-like messages of reproof and courage that helped to shape the character of the church. Without her today it is probable that the Adventist Church would be only a footnote in some history book of various religious groups in the nineteenth century. MOL 538.19

Arthur G. Daniells, General Conference president from 1901-1922, lifted his pen in a plea to fellow church members not to follow the pattern of history: “It is possible to believe nominally in the gift of prophecy, to accept the messages of former prophets, and yet reject and oppose a contemporary messenger chosen of God to give instruction to His people. In Christ’s day the words of the ancient prophets were read every Sabbath in their synagogues, yet the religious leaders rejected John the Baptist and crucified the Prophet who came direct from heaven—the greatest who ever appeared on earth.... It was Christ’s rebuke of specific sins in their life that caused the Pharisees to reject His claim of being the Son of God. There is today, as there has always been in the past, a direct relation between the cherishing of some sin and a doubting of the messages of the Lord’s chosen servants.” 35 MOL 539.1

To keep the Adventist ship on course as it heads toward harbor, the message that set its course must remain as unclouded and as effective as an ocean liner’s compass and radar. And to keep the message relevant and meaningful, the Messenger who first framed the message must be listened to as the harbor pilot, especially as the ship enters the turbulence of the narrows, close to port. MOL 539.2

“Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets” (Hosea 6:5, RSV). MOL 539.3

“Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed” (2 Chronicles 20:20, RSV). MOL 539.4