Ellen G. White and Her Critics


A Middle Position on Inspiration

We believe that the Bible justifies neither extreme position. The Bible pictures a prophet as someone very human, a man of like passions as we are, who employs human language and human facilities. But the Bible also pictures him as a man who in a supernatural way is filled with the light of Heaven, and who conveys to men the light, the instruction, that God has given to him. EGWC 460.2

But in conveying to men his divinely secured message, he must employ human language. If he is describing a vision that includes a scene of earthly events, and finds, for example, that a historian has phrased tersely that scene, why must we conclude that he is a fraud because he draws from a historian a few lines of description? EGWC 460.3

Or why should it be considered an evidence that a prophet is false because he borrows something from the writings of a Bible commentator, for example? There are those who would attempt to challenge the inspiration of Moses because various of the laws he penned parallel closely certain codes already on record in surrounding nations. And others would attempt to discredit the inspired character of the sermon on the mount because some of the beatitudes sound very much like certain sayings of non-Christian holy men and philosophers. But what the Bible critics forget is that Christ is the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. Thus in all ages there have been men who uttered great truths, though those truths were often intermingled with errors. EGWC 460.4

The uniqueness of the prophet is that in a wholly distinctive manner his mind is illumined by God to write only truth. If he finds that a Bible commentator has aptly and tersely stated a truth, why should the borrowing of that terse statement prove that the prophet is a fraud? We think it may reasonably prove the opposite. Only a prophet of God could know with certainty whether a particular statement by some writer presented a great truth in wholly accurate form. EGWC 460.5