Ellen G. White and Her Critics


Reasoning to Opposite Conclusions

To this key fact we shall let the critics themselves testify. Canright, in an extended work against Mrs. White, comes to the climax of his quotations from her that are supposed to prove that she taught the shut-door doctrine of no more mercy for sinners, and declares: EGWC 284.1

“Hear her once more on this subject. After Jesus left the Holy Place, she says: ‘I did not see one ray of light pass from Jesus to the careless multitude after he arose, and they were left in perfect darkness.... Satan appeared to be by the throne trying to carry on the work of God. I saw them look up to the throne and pray, “Father, give us thy spirit;” then Satan would breathe upon them an unholy influence.’ Early Writings, 55, 56; ed. 1907. EGWC 284.2

“Her teaching here is as clear as day—not one ray of light comes to sinners since 1844, but all are left to the devil! What is the use of Adventists denying that she taught this doctrine? She certainly did teach it.” (Deletion after “darkness,” by Canright.) EGWC 284.3

Canright is quoting from the 1907 edition of Early Writings, which is the current one!* In the next chapter of his book he discusses, under the title, Damaging Writings Suppressed,” certain passages that have been deleted from Mrs. White’s earliest writings and declares that these deletions were made to hide the doctrine of the shut door that she allegedly abandoned in 1851. Now his climactic proof “that she taught this doctrine,” is, as we have noted, the quotation from the 1907 Early Writings. But this was not deleted; instead, it steadily receives wider and wider circulation through the promotion efforts of the Seventh-day Adventist publishing houses that sell Early Writings! EGWC 284.4

By the singular logic of this critic, so confidently relied upon by those who have followed him, we may reason ourselves into one or the other of two opposite conclusions by taking one or the other of two emphatic declarations made by him: EGWC 284.5

1. We may start with his statement that Mrs. White is teaching the shut door in this quotation from the currently available Early Writings, and thus reach the conclusion that she never abandoned that doctrine and hence never suppressed the fact that she taught it. EGWC 285.1

2. Or we may start with his statement that she did abandon the shut-door doctrine in 1851, methodically suppressing every former reference to it—even to doing away with A Word to the “Little Flock” and Present Truth—and thus reach the conclusion that her words in Early Writings obviously cannot teach the shut-door doctrine. EGWC 285.2

To this dilemma and absurdity do we come when we pursue the suppression charge to its logical, or rather illogical, end. EGWC 285.3

NOTE: Those who wish to make a detailed study of all the deletions in Mrs. White’s earliest writings are referred to Appendix J, p. 619. See also Appendix F, p. 586, for Mrs. White’s own explanation of certain deletions. EGWC 285.4