Ellen G. White and Her Critics


Chapter 34—In Conclusion

As we come to the end of our examination of the charges brought against Mrs. White, we think we hear our readers exclaiming: “Have the critics, after searching the seventy years of her public life and the thousands of pages of her writings, nothing more impressive than this to bring against her!” And that exclamation will probably be followed with the inquiry: “How did it come about that these charges ever seemed impressive and convincing to men?” To provide an answer to that question is the purpose of this concluding chapter. From our study of the charges we have discovered that their strength and plausibility resided in the kind of procedure that the critics employed in presenting their case. Let us analyze it: EGWC 531.1

1. Mrs. White has been judged by an arbitrary, artificial standard of perfection and omniscience that they have set up, a standard that neither they nor we employ when studying the lives of the prophets. It is true that “holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” and that when they thus spake their messages possessed a unique authority, the direct authority of heaven (2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17). But the Bible is also explicit that the prophets were “subject to like passions as we are.” James 5:17. Only thus can we understand certain facts concerning them, such as Moses’ striking the rock, David’s gross sin, Elijah’s error in saying, “I, even I only, am left,” or Nathan’s mistake in endorsing David’s desire to build a temple for the Lord, which endorsement he had to withdraw on the morrow because of a vision during the night. No lover of the Bible would claim that everything a prophet of God ever said or did was inspired. EGWC 531.2

But when Mrs. White’s critics discuss her their reasoning is built on the false premise that if she were a true prophet, she would have been infallible and omniscient, able to foreknow and discern all things. But we make no such claim for her, nor does she make such a claim. Why claim more for her than we would for Bible prophets? We have sought to present a true portrait of her, as one through whom was manifested the gift of the Spirit of prophecy. But in doing so we have made no presumptuous attempt to discover just what inspiration is, nor to speculate on the question of where holy ground begins. As we draw near to the burning bush we feel we have come on to holy ground. We do not think it proper to pull up the bush to see what makes it burn. We are satisfied simply to know that the bush truly burns and that it dispels the darkness about us. EGWC 531.3