Ellen G. White: The Later Elmshaven Years: 1905-1915 (vol. 6)


Chapter 21—Will Seventh-day Adventists Train Physicians?

The meeting that Ellen White looked forward to attending in Mountain View was the biennial session of the Pacific Union Conference, to be held in the church January 25-30, 1910. It was to be a momentous meeting for the Seventh-day Adventist Church and one of deep concern for Ellen White. On the agenda was the matter of a medical school at Loma Linda. Known to Mrs. White were not only the steps that were being taken in medical education at Loma Linda but also what God would have the school be as an agency in furthering the third angel's message. As the time of the meeting approached, she, by observation and by revelation from God, was aware of situations that could greatly hinder the advance steps that should be taken. The attitude of the president of the Pacific Union Conference, at this time a key man in Loma Linda affairs, was negative. 6BIO 270.1

On January 13, as she arose very early and took her pen to write, she addressed a letter to “Dear Brethren.” She opened it with an expression of her happiness in the Lord and noted freedom from aches or pains, and gave thanks to God. Broaching the primary theme of the six-page letter, she declared: 6BIO 270.2

This is my prayer, “Remove from our ministers, our physicians, and the teachers in our schools everything that will gender the spirit of strife.” We are none of us to have the spirit of exaltation. 6BIO 270.3

She then directed the reader to Christ's example and referred to many precious lessons in Matthew, chapters four to seven. In the heart of the communication she wrote of some “carrying responsibilities that they were not chosen of God to bear” and the confusion that resulted. Then she declared: 6BIO 270.4

When I returned from Australia, I saw that men had assumed a strange authority over the church of God. Some seemed to consider that if any official responsibility was placed upon them, they were to treat others as some unwise school teachers treat their pupils in school. Human teachers having position, supposed to be helpers to the churches, magnified their official authority as rulers, and this spoiled them as teachers and shepherds of the flock. They acted too much as worldly officials act. Those who dared to differ with them were not encouraged in their work. 6BIO 271.1

She continued, showing the deceptive nature of such attitudes: 6BIO 271.2

It was a great surprise to me that the testimonies I bore, reproving this work of “lording it over God's heritage,” had so little effect upon those exercising undue authority. They seemed to think they were carrying out wisely their official responsibilities. This evil in our work must not be permitted to bear sway again.

The past experience should be sufficient for every soul to know that position does not give the qualifications necessary to enable a man to rule his brethren. Ruling is not in the Lord's order. We need to pray, and to watch unto prayer; we need to experience the deep movings of the Spirit of God, and to walk intelligently before the Lord. 6BIO 271.3

It will take much close, hard watching on the part of the Conference officers to uproot the spirit of self-exaltation. This must be done before the true character of their work is understood, and it is clearly seen that human wisdom cannot take the place of wisdom from above. 6BIO 271.4

Much more must be done to uproot fully the fibers of this erratic human power exercised as authority, as though it were the voice of God.—Letter 8, 1910. 6BIO 271.5

This message was obviously written for the benefit of executives on all levels in the Pacific Union Conference, and even some in the General Conference. The general approach was typical, in that Ellen White often dealt with delicate situations first in general than specific terms, hoping that men of discernment would understand the meaning and be guided thereby. Undoubtedly it reached a number of key men before the session opened on Tuesday morning, January 25. 6BIO 271.6