Ellen G. White and Her Critics


James White on Laboring for Sinners

In the The Review and Herald, August 19, 1851, James White writes a long editorial, entitled “Our Present Work.” He speaks of the need of preaching the truth, of scattering publications everywhere. The reason he offers is this: “Now the door is open almost everywhere to present the truth, and many are prepared to read the publications who have formerly had no interest to investigate.”—Page 13. EGWC 237.1

A little later he declares that from 1844 to 1846 “a number of the advent brethren in different States embraced the Sabbath.”—The Review and Herald, May 6, 1852, page 5. But in the same connection we find him saying: “But this work is not confined to those only who have had an experience in the past advent movement. A large portion of those who are sharing the blessings attending the present truth were not connected with the advent cause in 1844.”—Ibid. EGWC 237.2

That statement was made in the spring of 1852. Unless we are to assume—though there is nothing in the record to support it—that all this influx had taken place since James White wrote, in August, 1851, that “now the door is open almost everywhere,” we must conclude that from 1846 onward, a “large portion” of those added to their ranks “were not connected with the advent cause in 1844.” Our Sabbathkeeping forebears may have been surprised that some of these people came in, but that is beside the point. The record is that they came in during that seven-year period mentioned in the charge. And need we add that people rarely become converts to a new and unpopular faith unless some real endeavor is made by the believers of that faith to convert them! True, we cannot point to the historical record of such endeavor. But the facts are that we know very little about the earliest activities of our forebears. The record is woefully incomplete. EGWC 237.3

So much for the twelve principal lines of argument and evidence submitted to prove that Mrs. White believed and taught for seven years following 1844 that there was no salvation for sinners. A study of the sources and the context of her writings has revealed that she believed no such thing. EGWC 238.1