Ellen White and Phoebe palmer had much in common in respect of their childhood and ministry that one might conclude that Ellen White had been greatly influenced by Palmer. Below are some of the commonalities between them. Besides, Ellen White had this testimony for Palmer: “I suppose, indeed I might venture to assert, that Mrs. Palmer, Miss Buck, and women like them, have each done more to lead sinners to a Saviour than any man of the same period” [Emphasis added] (Ellen White’s view of the Role of Women in the SDA Church, p. 13, 1861).
|Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874)||Ellen White (1827-1915)|
|Denomination:||Member of Methodist Episcopal Church
|Member of Methodist Episcopal Church
Was disfellowshipped in 1843.
|Had a Large Family Bible.
Always pointed the believers only to the bible.
|Had a Large Family Bible.
Pointed her followers to the Bible and to her books and testimonies as well.
|At 13 years of age.
Had gone through a conversion struggle.
|At 12 years of age.
Had gone through a conversion struggle.
|Began writing at the age of 11.
Wrote testimonies and letters.
Prolific writer and speaker.
She worked within and without her church, bringing all denominations together. From the laity to the bishops, – they sought her counsel.
|Began to write at the age of 18 (1845).
Wrote testimonies and letters.
Prolific writer and speaker.
She was recognized by only by those who had separated from Miller and she worked only for her group. Advocated separation and branded other churchs as “fallen”, “Babylon” and lost.
|Visions:||Claimed visions and dreams from God.||Claimed to have visions and dreams from God.|
|Marriage:||Married at 19 years of age (1827).||Married at 19 years of age (1846).|
|Husband:||Walter Palmer- worked with her.
Constant support to her.
|James White- worked with her and was her mentor .|
|1st son, born 1828, died 9 months later.
2nd son, born 1830, died 7 weeks later.
3rd daughter, 1833, survived.
4th daughter, 1835, died as a baby.
|1st son, Henry Nicholas, born 1847, died 1863- at 16 years of age.
2nd son, James Edson, born Sep 1849.
3rd son, William Clarence, born 1854.
4th son, John Herbert, born 1860, died in infancy.
The great disappointment of Miller’s Movement:
|Accepted the Advent message but rejected the ‘set- time’ for the Lord’s return as it was [is] not biblical.
She had written to William Miller after the disappointment (Oct 22, 1844), holding him responsible for misleading all his followers.
|Accepted advent message, including the “set- time” for the Lord’s return (Oct 22, 1844) Which is un-biblical.
Justified Miller’s time-setting, and the movement to be the work of God. Held God responsible for the confusion and disappointment.
1. The lesser and the greater light
Ellen White (1827-1915): “Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light. O, how much good would be accomplished if the books containing this light were read with a determination to carry out the principles they contain!” (RH, Jan 20, 1903).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): Her caution regarding ‘lesser lights’: “Though you may often be much benefited in looking at the example of devoted Christians – for Christ says of such, “Ye are the light of the world,” – yet it is not safe to have your mind too much absorbed, even in the contemplation of this. At best they shine but in borrowed rays; and it is possible to have your vision so filled with these lesser lights… And there is danger here. The best human beings are at least, liable to err; also if your eye is on them, instead of being fixed on the Sun of Righteousness, most disastrous consequences might ensue” (Faith and its Effects, pp. 31, 32, 1856 ).
2. Called a servant of God
Ellen White (1827-1915): “Sister White is not the originator of these books. They contain the instruction that during her lifework God has been giving her. They contain the precious, comforting light that God has graciously given his servant to be given to the world” (RH, Jan 20, 1903).
Richard Wheatley: “That God has called me to stand before the people, and proclaim His truths, has long been beyond question. So fully has God made my commission known to my own soul, and so truly has He set His seal upon it… that even Satan does not seem to question that my call is divine” (The life and letters of Mrs. Phoebe Palmer, p. 83, 1876).
Richard Wheatley: “But to feel that the Lord had now so gloriously recognized her as his servant, by permitting her to enjoy the – “glorious shame, The scandal of the cross”” (Ibid., p. 85).
3. Entire conformity to the will of God.
Ellen White (1827-1915): “I was hungering and thirsting for full salvation, and an entire conformity to the will of God. Day and night I was struggling to obtain this priceless treasure, that all the riches of this could not purchase” (Early Writings, p. 33, 1882).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “… she began to seek most earnestly for a state of entire conformity to the will of God…” (The Way of Holiness, p. 218, 1843).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “All who have been brought into a state of full salvation have had to make it” (ibid., p. 239).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “I have sometimes thought that the enjoyments of glorified spirits in heaven, and of those possessing the full salvation of the redeemed of the earth…” (Ibid., p. 159, 1843).
4. Naked faith and naked promises
Ellen white (1827-1915): “Open before the Lord your Bibles, containing divine promises… tell him you will believe without any other evidence except the naked promise” (Sabbath School Worker, Apr 1, 1886).
Ellen White: “Here is faith, naked faith to believe that we receive the blessings” (CET, p. 126).
Ellen White: “We must believe the naked promise, and not accept feeling for faith” (Christ Our Righteousness, Nov, 1883).
Ellen White: “Do not trust in your feelings, but in the naked Word of God” (UL, p. 176, 1982; 4MR 410, 1990).
E. Brooks Holifield: In his reference to Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874), says that, “In 1837 she resolved to accept the biblical promise that God would sanctify all Christians who consecrate their lives to Christ and that she could rely on “naked faith in naked promise,” regardless of her feelings” (Theology in America, p. 271, 2003).
Richard Wheatley Cites Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “But was shut up to faith – naked faith in a naked promise” (Life and Letters of Mrs. Phoebe Palmer, p. 42, 1876).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “… she was often called to lean so entirely, “with naked faith, upon a naked promise,”” (Way of Holiness, p. 99, 1843).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “… the Scripture (the plain, naked word of God)” (The Way of Holiness, p. 212, 1843).
Ellen White (1827-1915): “If after confession of sin and humiliation of soul, you would have a love-feast- every heart filled with love for his brethren – you would see the salvation of the Lord” (4 MR, p. 273).
Ellen White: “The Camp meeting may be a love feast, because we have the assurance of God’s presence” (15 MS, p. 13).
Ellen White: “The next Sunday, at the commencement of love-feast, the presiding elder read off our names, seven in number, as discontinued from the church” (Life Sketches of James White and Ellen G. White, p. 175, 1880).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “On Monday evening I attended love – feast in street church” (The Way of Holiness, p. 226, 1843).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “I longed to possess fully the mind that was in Christ. At the first love – feast I attended, I was led to ask for a clear evidence that my Saviour had indeed washed all my sins away… After the love – feast, the sacrament was administered” (The Useful Disciple, p. 96, 1857).
Nathan Bangs (1778-1862: “After breakfast, a host being now on the ground, we held a love-feast.” (The Journal And Note book of Nathan Bangs, 1805-1806, 1817).
Abel Stevens (1815-1897): “…love – feast – the Agape, derived by Wesley through the Moravians, from the primitive Church – an occasion which always accompanied the “Quarterly Meeting.”” (Life and Times of Nathan Bangs, p. 44, 1863).
Andrew Manship (1823-1892): “On Monday night following the dedication (of the church), we had a love feast in our new place of worship. All was love and harmony; we felt it was God’s house” (Thirteen Years’ Experience in the Itenerancy, p. 305, 1824).
6. Visionary terminology
Ellen White (1827-1915): “While praying the power of God came upon me….I was wrapt up in a vision of God’s glory…” (A Word to the Little Flock, p. 18, 1847).
Ellen White: “I felt an unutterable sense of glory that surrounded me” (A Sketch of Christian Experience and Views of Ellen G. White, p.54, 1851).
Ellen White: “Language is altogether too feeble to attempt a description of heaven….The most exalted language fails to describe the glory of heaven…” (Our Father Cares, p. 87).
Richard Wheatley: “My soul was wrapped in unutterable vision of glory. I hesitate in attempting to describe the inconceivable glory that passed before me. I am at a loss of language, and I have been asking the Lord to empower me, so that I may be able to give some faint idea of it” (Life and letters of Mrs. Phoebe Palmer, p. 97, 1876).
7. Stars in the crown
Ellen white (1827-1915): “Some crowns appeared heavy with stars while others had but few” (Early Writings, p. 15, 1882).
Ellen White: “And every one they have been means of saving, adds stars to their crowns in glory, and increases their eternal reward” (4b SG, p. 39; 1T, p. 197, 1864).
Ellen White: “Some of them had very bright crowns, others not so bright. Some crowns appeared heavy with stars, while others had but few. All were perfectly satisfied with their crowns” (Early Writings, p.16, 1882).
Ellen White: “Yet there will be no one saved in heaven with a starless crown. If you enter, there will be some soul in the courts of glory that has found an entrance there through your instrumentality” (Signs of the Times, June 6, 1892).
Ellen White: “The crown of life will be bright or dim, will glitter with many stars, or be lighted by few gems, in accordance with our own course of action” (6BC, p. 1105 (1895); Last Day Events, p. 282, 1992).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “I go on in thought till I come to your entrance into the pearly gates; and the starry crown, and the numbers – Oh! The overpowering numbers that meet you to own your labours to be stars in your crown forever…” (Sweet Mary, p. 74, 1862).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “Who should be satisfied with a starless crown, when, after a little lingering on earth, it may be set with many brilliant stars?…The ambition for a starry crown- an abundant entrance, is of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and should be cherished.” (Incidental Illustrations Of The Economy Of Salvation, pp. 220, 221, 1855).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): Here she relates a vision of a believer – “He thought he was taken up to heaven, where he saw many crowns laid up….He noticed that crowns differed greatly in brilliancy. Some were beautifully set with stars; while others were almost or quite starless…” (Entire Devotion to God, p. 75, 1857 [written in 1845]).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “And there, also, she beheld the company who had preceded her, receiving crowns from the hand of the saviour. After handing one, beautifully set with stars, to one whom E – well knew and much loved, He came bearing one to her. It was a golden crown, and valuable indeed; but it had no stars in it. … with a beseeching look, she said, “But it has no stars in it!” “Be thou faithful unto death,” said the compassionate Jesus, “and thou shalt have a crown glittering with as many stars as the one thou hast just beheld” (Entire Devotion to God, pp. 69, 70, 1857 [written in 1845]).
8. Travels of the Advent people to the Holy City
Ellen White (1827-1915): “While praying at the family altar, the Holy Ghost fell on me, and I seemed to be rising higher and higher, far above the dark world. I turned to look for the Advent people in the world, but could not find them—when a voice said to me, “Look again, and look a little higher.” At this I raised my eyes and saw a straight and narrow path, [Matthew 7:14.] cast up high above the world. On this path the Advent people were travelling to the City, which was at the farther end of the path. They had a bright light set up behind them at the first end of the path, which an angel told me was the Midnight Cry. [Matthew 25:6.] This light shone all along the path, and gave light for their feet so they might not stumble. And if they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, who was just before them, leading them to the City, they were safe. But soon some grew weary, and they said the City was a great way off, and they expected to have entered it before. Then Jesus would encourage them by raising his glorious right arm, and from his arm came a glorious light which waved over the Advent band” (WLF, p. 14, 1847).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “It was in the same hallowed hour when she was first … permitted to enter within the veil and prove the blessedness of the “way of holiness,” that the weighty responsibilities, and also inconceivably-glorious destination of the believer, were unfolded to her spiritual vision, in a manner inexpressibly surpassing her former perceptions. She seemed permitted to look down through the vista of the future, to behold herself as having begun a race, in a way luminously lit up by the rays of the Sun of Righteousness, with gaze of myriads of interested spectators – ay, even the gaze of the upper, as also the lower, world – intensely fixed upon her, watching her progress in a course that seemed to admit of no respite, or turning to the right or to the left, and where consequences, in conceivably momentous, and eternal in duration, were pending. … Though often greatly advantaged by the recital of the experience of fellow – travelers to the heavenly city…” (The Way of Holiness, pp. 46, 54, 1845 [written in 1843]).
9. Ellen White felt she had perfect right in the city
Ellen White (1827-1915): “Jesus threw open the gates of the Golden City, and led us in. Here we were made welcome, for we had kept the “Commandments of God,” and had a “right to the tree of life” (Broadside3, April 7, 1847).
“We all marched in and felt we had a perfect right in the City” (broadside 1, 1846).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): According to Phoebe, Jesus assures the saint of her right to enter the city – “[Jesus] looked over the battlements of the beautiful city, and said, “You have knocked in the other world and you now have a right to enter”” (Entire Devotion to God, p. 69, 1857 [written in1845]).
10. Order in Heaven
Ellen White (1827-1915): “Order is heaven’s first law” (6T, p. 201, 1901).
Phoebe palmer (1807-1874): “‘Order is heaven’s first law; ’” (Faith and Its Effects, p. 202, 1856).
Note: Phoebe acknowledged the source of her statement, whereas, Ellen white did not.
Alexander Pope (1688-1744): “Order is heaven’s first law.”
11. Bible the book of books
Ellen White (1827-1915): “Of all the books that have flooded the world, be they ever so valuable, the Bible is the Book of books, and is most deserving of the closest study and attention” (FE, p. 129, 1923).
Ellen White: “It is the duty of every Christian to seek a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures… the Book of books has the highest claim to our reverent attention” (RH, October 9, 1883).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “Good books are often very helpful; but let the bible be the book of books with you” (Faith and Its Effects, p. 32, 1856 [written in 1848]).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “It was on this wise that the word of the lord, “the Book of books,” as a “mighty counsellor,” (The Way of holiness, p. 29, 1845 [written in 1843]).
12. Enlightenment of the Holy Spirit
Ellen White (1827-1915): “During the whole time I could not understand the reasoning of the brethren. My mind was locked, as it were, and I could not comprehend the meaning of the Scriptures we were studying – This was one of the greatest sorrows of my life… when they came to a point in their study where they said, “we can do nothing more,” I would be taken off in a vision, and clear explanation of the passages we have been studying would be given me” (1SM, pp. 206-207, 1958).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “[I] have asked, relative to portions of the word that I could not at once apprehend, direct and special illumination, and it has been given” (The Way of holiness, p. 213, 1845 [written in 1843]).
13. Study the Bible on knees
Ellen White (1827-1915): “Search the Scriptures,” was the injunction of the Master. Many have lost much because they have neglected this duty… Take the Bible, and on your knees plead with God to enlighten your mind. If we would study the Bible diligently and prayerfully every day, we should every day see some beautiful truth in a new, clear, and forcible light” (RH, March 4, 1884).
Ellen White: “Many will be lost because they have not studied their Bibles upon their knees, with earnest prayer to God that the entrance of the word of God might give light to their understanding” (The Ellen G. White 1888 materials, pp. 44, 45).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “I have felt sacredly bound, in preparing myself for my Bible class exercises, and in the devotions of the closet, first to take the naked, unadorned word upon my knees in the presence of God, in order to have my mind primarily preoccupied with the teachings of the Holy Spirit before it was submitted to the dictations of men, however learned or good” (The Way of Holiness, p. 212, 1845 [written in 1843]).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “I resolve that I will search the Scriptures daily on my knees… as in the more immediate presence of God…” (Entire Devotion to God, p. 98, 1857 [written in 1845]).
14. Thus saith the Lord
Ellen White (1827-1915): “Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord’ in its support” (GC, p. 595, 1911).
Ellen White: ““A Thus saith the Lord” is not to be set aside for a “Thus saith the church”” (AA, p. 69, 1911).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “… it became an immovable axiom with her, never to deem an experience satisfactory that could not be substantiated with an emphatic, “Thus saith the Lord”” (The Way of holiness, p. 55, 1845 [written in 1843]).
15. Preferred death
Ellen White (1827-1915): “I would rather die than have a vision, for every vision places me under great responsibility to bear testimonies of reproof and of warning, which has ever been against my feelings, causing me affliction of soul that is inexpressible” (Letter 2, 1874).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “I had resolved to die in the struggle rather than give up my confidence” (The Way of Holiness, p. 134, 1845 [written in 1843]).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “She had been saying, Rather let me die than lose the blessing…” (Ibid., p. 48).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “… my resolution was fixed, rather to die in the conflict, than that the enemy should have even a partial triumph” (Ibid., p. 273).
16. The Rule of Faith
Ellen White (1827-1915): “I recommend to you dear readers the word of God as the rule of faith and practice” (EW, p. 78, 1882).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “Believing that the Scriptures are a sufficient rule for my faith and practice, because “all scripture is given by inspiration of God” (Entire Devotion to God, p. 98, 1857 [written in 1845]).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “in her frequent communications with such [who inquired of her] has in her directions pointed to the law and the testimony, as an infallible guide, and a sufficient rule for faith and practice” (Faith and Its Effects. p. VII, 1856 [written in 1848]).
17. Unbelief is sin
Ellen White (1827-1915): “The sin of unbelief, by which their confidence in the Son of God was destroyed, led Israel far astray” (CTr, [Christ Triumphant] p. 108, 1999).
Ellen White: “There is no sin greater than unbelief” (ML, p. 14, 1952).
Ellen White: “in refusing to confess their sins of unbelief and rejection of his messages” (RH, Oct 21, 1890).
Ellen White: “Unbelief is the sin that so easily besets us; and this sin is obnoxious to God” (ST, Sep 12, 1892).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): ““Yes, unbelief is a sin”” (Faith and Its Effects, p. 107, 1856).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “Unbelief is a sin, and you must renounce it” (Ibid., p. 23).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “Sin of unbelief so dishonouring to God” (The Way of holiness, p. 67, 1845 ).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): ““He that believeth not, maketh God a liar!” And fear of awful sin of unbelief deterred him from yielding the point” (Ibid., p. 238).
18. Comparing Scripture with Scripture
Ellen White (1827-1915): “We should day by day study the Bible diligently weighing every thought and comparing scripture with scripture” (GC, p. 598, 1911).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “we have no right to think that we shall be “thoroughly furnished unto every good work,”… without a careful searching and “comparing of scripture with scripture,” which surely implies something more than mere reading” (The Way of Holiness, p. 209, 1845 [written in 1843]).
19. Within the Holy of Holies
Ellen White (1827-1915): “After viewing the glory of the Holy, Jesus raised the second veil, and I passed into the Holy of Holies. In the Holiest I saw an ark; on the top and sides of it was purest gold” (Broadside3, April 7, 1847).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “It was in that same hallowed hour when she [Phoebe] was first… permitted to enter within the veil, and prove the blessedness of the “way of holiness,”” (The Way of holiness, p. 46, 1845 [written in 1843]).
20. Satan in vision/dream
Ellen White (1827-1915): “I was then shown Satan as he was, a happy, exalted angel. Then I was shown him as he now is. He still bears a kingly form. His features are still noble, for he is an angel fallen. But the expression of his countenance is full of anxiety, care, unhappiness, malice, hate, mischief, deceit, and every evil. That brow which was once so noble, I particularly noticed. His forehead commenced from his eyes to recede backward. I saw that he had demeaned himself so long, that every good quality was debased, and every evil trait was developed. His eyes were cunning, sly, and showed great penetration. His frame was large, but the flesh hung loosely about his hands and face. As I beheld him, his chin was resting upon his left hand. He appeared to be in deep thought. A smile was upon his countenance, which made me tremble, it was so full of evil, and Satanic slyness. This smile is the one he wears just before he makes sure of his victim, and as he fastens the victim in his snare, this smile grows horrible” (1SG, pp. 27, 28, 1858).
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874): “But I was made painfully aware that I was not yet out of reach of the enemy, even while asleep. After the above reflections, imagine my surprise on awaking in a frightful dream. Yes, Satan himself transformed into an angel of light, was permitted to assault me… I imagined myself standing in the back parlour… Presently I was aroused by a loud knock at the door. Knowing that all about the house had, by the latedeness of the hour, been quieted, and all the inlets secured, I was assured that something was wrong: but remembering that I was already in the power of the intruder, and resistance in vain, I, with firmness, said, “Come in;” When lo! A personage, altogether unlike any I had before conceived of, entered. Added to a countenance fiendish in the extreme, was a costume of the Highland order, with a covering of thin white, and black underneath; the black, in many places, projecting below the white. He harshly demanded, “Is the doctor in?” “He is in the first parlour, on the sofa,” I replied. As he passed me, I ran and screamed for assistance, and was awakened by the effort” (Faith and its Effects, pp. 64, 65, 1856 [written in 1848]).