Ellen G. White and Her Critics


Chapter 25—The Time to Begin the Sabbath

Charge: “Elder Bates led Mrs. White and her husband to accept the Sabbath in 1846. He had been a sea captain, and by nautical time began the day at 6 P.M. So he began the Sabbath that way. By him Mrs. White was led to keep it the same way till 1855—nine years.” EGWC 350.1

James White declares: “Mrs. W. has in two visions been shown something in regard to the time of the commencement of the Sabbath. The first was as early as 1847, at Topsham, Me. In that vision she was shown that to commence the Sabbath at sunrise was wrong.” *The Review and Herald, February 25, 1868, p. 168. EGWC 350.2

“If the Lord gave her this vision, how natural and easy it would have been for him to tell her that sunset was the right time. Why simply tell her sunrise was wrong, and leave the whole church in error eight years more as to what time was right? The answer is easy. Bates was still in the lead, and opposed sunrise time, and she ‘saw’ through his glasses; that was all.... EGWC 350.3

“How did she finally find out? This way: A division among them was arising over this question. So Elder J. N. Andrews, the best scholar they then had, was requested to study the subject and present his conclusion to the conference held at Battle Creek, Mich., Nov. 16, 1855. This he did, and decided that sunset was the Scriptural time to begin the Sabbath. The conference voted to accept his view.... EGWC 350.4

“Then, four days after Andrews and the conference had settled it, Mrs. White had a vision in which an angel told her that sunset was the right time!!! ... In that vision she complained to the angel and asked for an explanation. She says: ‘I inquired why it had been thus, that at this late day we must change the time of commencing the Sabbath. Said the angel, “Ye shall understand, but not yet, not yet.”’ (‘Test.,’ Vol. I., p. 116). EGWC 350.5

“That was over sixty years ago; Mrs. White is dead; but the promised explanation has never been given. So I will give it now: In her visions she saw just what Bates taught her. When Andrews had the lead, then she changed her views and saw just what he and the conference taught. That is the whole of it, and the like of that is the source of all her revelations.” EGWC 350.6

Most of the arguments in this charge have a strangely familiar ring. They have been answered before. Let us look at this charge in its historical context. EGWC 351.1