Ellen G. White and Her Critics


Doctrine of Verbal Inspiration Not Taught

It is evident, with the addition of the related sentences, that Mrs. White is not teaching verbal inspiration at all. Her dependence on the Spirit of the Lord in relating a vision has to do with the Lord’s bringing sharply before her mind again, at the time that He wishes her to relate or write the vision, that which she had seen before. Otherwise she felt that she was unable to present her message. The Lord did not always call upon her at once to write out a vision or to relate it. When the right time came, the Lord refreshed her mind as to what she had seen in vision, and then she wrote or related it. Place alongside this quotation another in which Mrs. White describes the difference between what she sees in vision, by revelation of the Spirit, and what she writes of that vision. We quoted these words in the chapter on plagiarism. They apply here also: EGWC 469.3

“Although I am as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in writing my views as I am in receiving them, yet the words I employ in describing what I have seen are my own, unless they be those spoken to me by an angel, which I always enclose in marks of quotation.”—The Review and Herald, October 8, 1867, p. 260. EGWC 469.4

In full accord with this clearcut disavowal of verbal inspiration, is an official pronouncement of the General Conference. The following is quoted from the preamble to a resolution passed at the session of 1883: EGWC 470.1

“We believe the light given by God to his servants is by the enlightenment of the mind, thus imparting the thoughts, and not (except in rare cases) the very words in which the ideas should be expressed.”—The Review and Herald, November 27, 1883, p. 741. EGWC 470.2