Ellen G. White and Her Critics


The Suppression Charge Examined

Here is simply a variation of the charge of suppression. We believe that the chapter that dealt exhaustively with that charge revealed that the fact that a passage is not retained in later publications, or that a particular book is not republished, is not in itself valid ground for charging that suppression has occurred. In view of this clearly established point we might properly refuse to take seriously this plausible-sounding charge of suppression as applied to the amalgamation passage. But that the groundlessness of the charge may be transparently clear we give these pertinent facts in the case: EGWC 321.1

From 1858 to 1864 there appeared from Mrs. White’s pen four small volumes carrying the general title Spiritual Gifts. With the exception of volume 2, which is largely autobiographical, and the latter half of volume 4, the volumes present a portrayal of sacred history from the creation to Eden restored. EGWC 321.2

From 1870 to 1884 she brought forth four larger volumes, under the title The Spirit of Prophecy. These volumes cover more fully the subject of man’s religious history from Eden to Eden. In large part the material in Spiritual Gifts, except the autobiographical volume, is reproduced in The Spirit of Prophecy. Often the text of the former is exactly reproduced, chapter after chapter, in the latter. In some instances there are deletions, and often there are additions. A detailed study of the matter reveals that here apply the principles set forth in the discussion on Suppression, by which an author, in bringing out a new and more complete treatment of a theme, may properly add or subtract or revise. The two amalgamation passages appear verbatim in The Spirit of Prophecy, in volume 1, published in 1870. EGWC 321.3

How easy it would have been for Mrs. White to drop out the amalgamation passages in the 1870 edition. The passages had already raised questions, as is evidenced by the reference to them in Uriah Smith’s work, Objections to the Visions Answered. That was the time to “suppress” them. But she reproduced the chapters containing the passages, so that both the passages and the context remain the same. EGWC 321.4

Up to this time Mrs. White had been writing quite exclusively for the church. The next step was the planning of books that might be sold to those outside the Seventh-day Adventist Church, even to those who might not have any religious background or connection. Naturally, included in such a plan would be the desire to give an appropriate emphasis to certain truths that distinguish the preaching of the Advent movement. Now, even as a minister, turning from his congregation to address a mixed multitude, would quite change his treatment of a subject, by addition, subtraction, or revision, even so would a writer. In 1890 the great subject of man’s early history, which is the theme of Spiritual Gifts, volume 3, and Spirit of Prophecy, volume 1, was covered in a new way in the book Patriarchs and Prophets, prepared for sale to the general public. This is one of a set of current works which cover the religious history of man from Eden to Eden, and known generally as the Conflict of the Ages Series. In each volume of the series the field is covered in an amplified and sometimes new way, and no pretense is made of reprinting an earlier work. It would be just as consistent to contend that the whole four volumes of The Spirit of Prophecy have been suppressed as to contend that a certain five sentences the total involved in the amalgamation passages—have been suppressed! EGWC 322.1

If anything need be added, we presume it would be to remind the reader that the four volumes of Spiritual Gifts, which are the original source of the amalgamation passages, are currently available in a facsimile edition! * EGWC 322.2