A Prophet Among You


Chapter 21—Ellen G. White Writings Today

Was every word spoken by a prophet, after he received his prophetic call, inspired by God? No intensive study of the Bible is required to produce an emphatic No to this question. There is no indication that a man called to the prophetic office could henceforth speak only the words given him by the Lord, or that other men could take it for granted that everything said and done by the prophet was done so under divine inspiration. Abraham deceived, Moses lost his patience and spoke hasty words, David instructed Joab how to have Uriah killed, Nathan agreed with David’s plans to build a house for the Lord and then had to reverse his statement. All these men were prophets, but the possession of the prophetic gift did not mean moment-by-moment direction of all their words and acts. APAY 393.1

If all they said was not inspired, how much was given by divine direction? Nowhere in the Bible is there a clear statement on the subject. A study of Ellen White and a comparison of her work with some Bible prophets shed light on the problem. In dealing with Mrs. White we have the advantage of a larger number of her writings and many more comments bearing on the topic at hand than we have in studying the work and writings of any Bible prophet. The same questions are frequently asked regarding her words and writings as are raised relative to the Bible writers. How much of it was from the Lord, and how much was the result of her own thinking? APAY 393.2

On August 30, 1906, there appeared in the Review and Herald this statement from the pen of Mrs. White, addressed to a Seventh-day Adventist who had written her concerning the inspiration of the Testimonies. “In your letter,” she wrote, “you speak of your early training to have implicit faith in the Testimonies, and say, ‘I was led to conclude and most firmly believe that every word that you ever spoke in public or private, that every letter you wrote under any and all circumstances, was as inspired as the ten commandments.’ [Italics hers.] APAY 393.3

“My brother, you have studied my writings diligently, and you have never found that I have made any such claims. Neither will you find that the pioneers in our cause have made such claims.” She then referred to her statement concerning the inspiration of the Bible writers in her introduction to The Great Controversy. APAY 394.1