"Truth about Ellen White Writings"

The Inspiration of the Bible

Ellen White was neither a theologian nor a philosopher, to think and to analyze independently. She conveniently chooses from available sources that which suited her own opinion, or in most cases, what majority have said. She was inspired by God to copy from others. After all, she was an illiterate with only a third grade education!

1. How the inspired writers got their information

Ellen white (1827-1915): “She was told that in the reading of religious books and journals, she would find precious gems of truth expressed in acceptable language, and that she would be given help from heaven to recognize these and to separate them from the rubbish of error with which she would sometimes find them associated” (Ellen G. White Estate, Brief Statements, Regarding the Writings of Ellen G. White, White Estate, 1933).

Ellen white (1827-1915): “I was told to gather up the light that had been given me and let its rays shine forth to God’s people. I have been doing this in articles in the papers. I arose at three o’clock nearly every morning for months and gathered the different items written after the last two testimonies were given me in Battle Creek” (5T, p. 68, 1889).

Ellen White (1827-1915): “Gems of thought are to be gathered up and redeemed from their companionship with error; for by their misplacement in the association of error, the Author of truth has been dishonored. The precious gems of the righteousness of Christ, and truths of divine origin, are to be carefully searched out and placed in their proper setting, to shine with heavenly brilliancy amid the moral darkness of the world. Let the bright jewels of truth which God gave to man, to adorn and exalt his name, be carefully rescued from the rubbish of error, where they have been claimed by those who have been transgressors of the law, and have served the purposes of the great deceiver on account of their connection with error. Let the gems of divine light be reset in the framework of the gospel. Let nothing be lost of the precious light that comes from the throne of God. It has been misapplied, and cast aside as worthless; but it is heaven-sent, and each gem is to become the property of God’s people and find its true position in the framework of truth. Precious jewels of light are to be collected, and by the aid of the Holy Spirit they are to be fitted into the gospel system” (Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, October 23, 1894).

John Henry Kurtz (1809-1890): “… for the writers were holy men of God, who spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). Their own imaginations and reflections, their own gathering, searching and sifting, and, in general, the efforts of their own minds, were not suppressed, but rather purified, sanctified and exalted. Their mental action was, consequently, sustained and made fertile by the divine Spirit, with a view to the preparation of the Scriptures, in a two-fold manner: either, all that lay beyond the limits of human experience and human knowledge was imprinted by the Spirit on their minds in prophetic contemplation, or, in those cases in which events lay within the bounds of human knowledge, their natural ability to distinguish between error and truth was in so far exalted and sanctified that they were enabled to ascertain and comprehend the truth in its purest form” (Manual of sacred History, p. 28, 1854, [1856] ). Emphasis added.

Note: If you carefully read the above two quotes, you will be amazed to see what Ellen White had claimed of her divine inspiration was actually copied from Kurtz. See the following quotes and compare them with Kurtz’s quote: “I was enabled clearly to define what is truth and what is error… All these truths are immortalized in my writings” (8MR, p. 320, 1990); “The power of God would come upon me, and I was enabled clearly to define what is truth and what is error” (3SM, p. 32, 1980). Emphasis added.

Cunningham Geikie (1824-1906): “It is not, however, necessary to suppose that the whole book of genesis is an original composition of the great law giver. On the contrary, he clearly availed himself of existing documents, as in history of creation… Moses was evidently inspired to supplement the one account by the other, and thus make a fuller revelation, apparently from two primeval sources, than one by itself would have furnished. But it is only a question of literary interest to which he may have been divinely led to employ materials already inviting his selection. Some portions he must have received by direct inspiration; others may have been derived from earlier documents or traditions, purified from whatever was unworthy; others from personal knowledge. In any case, the book as it stands is the very word of god, speaking as only He could, through His servants, to mankind” (Hours With the Bible, Vol. 1, pp. 10, 11, 1882).

Cunningham Geikie (1824-1906): “Question has often been raised, whence Moses obtained the materials from which his account of creation was composed. Were they direct communications from God, or does he describe, as some have fancied, a series of visions mysteriously granted him, or were there any per-existing documents or traditions, of which he made use, separating, in doing so, the true and pure, by divine inspiration, from the errors and debasements which had added themselves to them?” (Ibid., p. 24).

2. Words of the Bible are not inspired

Ellen white (1827-1915): “It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man’s words or his expressions but on the man himself, who under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts. But the words receive the impress of individual mind. The divine mind is diffused. The divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will, thus the utterances of the man are the word of God” (Manuscript 24, 1886; 1SM, p. 21, 1958).

Ellen white (1827-1915): “The bible points to God as its author; yet it was written by human hands; and in the varied style of its different books it presents the characteristics of the several writers. The truths revealed are all “given by inspiration of God” (2Tim. 3:16); yet they are expressed in the words of men… and those to whom the truth was thus revealed [through dreams, visions, symbols and figures] have themselves embodied the thought in human language. The Ten commandments were spoken by God himself, and were written by his own hand. They are of divine, not human composition. But the Bible, with its God given truths are expressed in the language of men presents a union of the divine and human. Such a union existed in the nature of Christ who was the Son of God and the Son of man” (GC, p. c, 1888).

C. E. Stowe (1802-1886): “It is not the words of the Bible that were inspired; it is not the thoughts of the Bible that were inspired; it is the men who wrote the Bible that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the thoughts, but on the man himself; so that he, by his own spontaneity, under the impulse of the Holy Ghost, conceives certain thoughts and gives utterances to them in certain words, both the words and the thoughts receiving peculiar impress of the mind… The divine mind is as it were so diffused through the human, and the human mind is interpenetrated with the Divine, that for the time being the utterances of the man are the word of God” (Origin and History of the Books of the Bible, pp. 19-20, 1867).

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758): “God has a design and meaning which the penmen never thought of, which he makes appear in these ways: by his own interpretation, and by his directing the penmen to such a phrase and manner of speaking, that has much more exact agreement and constancy with the thing remotely pointed to, than the thing meant by the penmen” (Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 2, p. 229, 1839).

Eleazar Lord (1788-1871): “How any one can hold that the sacred writers were inspired as to their thoughts, but not as to their language, is to us perfectly incomprehensible – The denial of verbal inspiration is in our view the denial of all inspiration, in the Scriptural sense of the doctrine. No man can have a wordless thought…it is impossible to infuse thoughts into the mind without words” (The Plenary Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, p. 85, 1857).

What Ellen White had ever written about the inspiration of the Scripture can be traced to the following citation from Tomline:

George Pretyman Tomline (1750-1827): “When it is said that Scripture is divinely inspired, it is not to be understood that God suggested every word, or dictated every expression. It appears from the different manner in which the same events are related and predicted by different authors, that the sacred penmen were permitted to write as their several tempers, understandings, and habits of life, directed; and that knowledge communicated to them by inspiration upon the subject of their writings, was applied in the same manner as any knowledge acquired by ordinary means. Nor is it to be supposed that they were even thus inspired in every fact which they related, or in every precept which they delivered. They were left to the common use of their faculties, and did not upon every  occasion stand in need of supernatural communication; but whenever, and as far as divine assistance was necessary, it was always afforded… It is sufficient to believe, that by the general suprerintendance of the Holy Spirit, they were directed in the choice of their materials, enlightened to judge of the truth and importance of those accounts from which they borrowed their information, and prevented from registering any material error” (An Introduction to the Study of the Bible, pp. 14-17, 1821). See 1Selected Messages, pp. 19-22.

3. The Bible is not God’s mode of thought

Ellen White (1827-1915): “the Bible is written by inspired men, but it is not God’s mode of thought and expression. It is that of humanity. God as a writer is not represented” (1SM, p. 20).

C.E. Stowe(1802-1886): “The Bible is not a specimen of God’s skill as a writer, showing us God’s mode of thought, giving us God’s logic, and God’s rhetoric….”(Origin and History of the Books of the Bible, p. 18, 1867).

4. The writers of the Bible were God’s penmen

Ellen White (1827-1915): “But God has not put Himself in words, logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible. The writers of the Bible were God’s penmen, not His pen” (Manuscript24, 1886).

C.E. Stowe (1802-1886): “God has not put himself on trial before us in that way in the Bible, any more than he has in creation….It is always to be remembered that the writers of the bible were ‘God’s penmen and not God’s pens’” (origin and history of the Books of the Bible, p. 18, 1867).

5. Bible is not given in superhuman language

Ellen White (1827-1915): “The Bible is not given to us in superhuman language… the Bible must be given in the language of man. Everything that is human is imperfect” (1 SM, p. 20).

C.E. Stowe (1802-1886): The bible is not given to in any celestial or superhuman language… must be given in the language of men. But every human language is of necessity, and from the very nature of the case, an imperfect language” (Origin and history of the Books of the Bible, p. 15, 1867).

6. Perfect order and unity lacking in the scripture

Ellen White (1827-1915): “There is not always perfect order or apparent unity in the Scriptures. The miracles of Christ are not given in exact order, but are given just as the circumstances occurred, which called for this divine revealing of the power of Christ. The truths of the Bible are as pearls hidden… Those who take only a surface view of the Scriptures will, with their superficial knowledge, which they think is very deep, talk of the contradictions of the Bible, and question the authority of the Scriptures…The illuminated soul sees a spiritual unity, one grand golden thread running through the whole,” (1SM, p. 20, 1958).

C.E. Stowe (1802-1886): “There is but little of external unity in the Bible,… you need not be at all shaken by the clamors of those who would make the obvious fact an objection of the authority of the scriptures. As well might it be objected to the miracles of Christ that they are not given in philosophical order. The unity of scripture is not an external, it is an internal, a spiritual unity, the unity of one grand idea running through the whole” (Origin and history of the Books of the Bible, p. 13, 1867).

7. The Lord Speaks in Imperfect Speech

Ellen White (1827-1915): “The Lord speaks to human beings in imperfect speech, in order that the degenerate senses, the dull, earthly perception, of earthly beings may comprehend His words. Thus is shown God’s condescension. He meets fallen human beings where they are. The Bible, perfect as it is in its simplicity, does not answer to the great ideas of God; for infinite ideas cannot be perfectly embodied in finite vehicles of thought. Instead of the expressions of the Bible being exaggerated, as many people suppose, the strong expressions break down before the magnificence of the thought, though the penman selected the most expressive language through which to convey the truths of higher education. Sinful beings can only bear to look upon a shadow of the brightness of heaven’s     ” (Letter 121, 1901).

Eleazar Lord (1788-1871): “But who are those critics? Are they believers in the infallibility of Scriptures in any sense of the theory? They criticize the text – the words, the phrases – of Scripture, not as having been given by supernatural inspiration of God, not as being words of god in any sense, but as being fallible, inadequate, uncertain words on man, employed to express his imperfect conceptions, … words fallible as selected and used by man, can, when he selects and uses them as an element of Holy Scripture, become the infallible words of God” (The Plenary Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, pp. 241, 242, 1857).

Note: If Bible was written in an imperfect language, then it must be faulty, fallible, unreliable, and ununderstandable. Contrary to these views, the Bible is a testimony of the perfect revelation of God’s will to man, in a perfect language – to be understood, and practiced. There is no imperfection in God’s works: “The law of the Lord is perfect”. – Psalm 19: 7; “Every word of God is pure” – Proverbs 30: 5. The word of God is pure because the “holy men of god spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost”.  – 2 Peter 1: 21.

8. Scriptures was dictated by the Holy Ghost

Ellen White (1827-1915): “The lives recorded in the Bible are authentic histories of actual individuals. From Adam down through successive generations to the times of the apostles we have a plain, unvarnished account of what actually occurred and the genuine experience of real characters… The scribes of God wrote as they were dictated by the Holy Spirit, having no control of the work themselves. They penned the literal truth, and stern, forbidding facts are revealed for reasons that our finite minds cannot fully comprehend” (4T, p. 9, 1881). (Emphasis added).

Ellen White (1827-1915): “He who is the father of lies, blinds and deceives the world by sending his angels forth to speak for the apostles, and make it appear that they contradict what they wrote when on earth, which was dictated by the Holy Ghost” (1SG, p. 176, 1858). (Emphasis added).

Louis Gaussen (1790-1863): “It is a book which God dictated to them; it is the word of God; the Spirit of the Lord hath spoken by its authors, and his words were upon their tongue” (Theopneusty or The Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, p. 55, 1842).

Louis Gaussen (1790-1863): “It should already be admitted, that at least all that part of the Bible called Prophecy, whatever it may be, was completely dictated by God; so that the very words, as well as the thoughts were given by him…To say, that the entire book “is the word of God;” is it not to attest that the very phrases of which it is composed, were dictated by him?” (Ibid., 292).

9. Bible is God’s voice speaking to us

Ellen White (1827-1915): “The Bible is God’s voice speaking to us, just as surely as though we could hear it with our ears” (Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 393).

Ellen White (1827-1915): “The Scriptures are to be received as God’s word to us, not written merely, but spoken… In them He is speaking to us individually, speaking as directly as if we could listen to His voice” (The Ministry of Healing, p. 122, 1905; The Faith I Live By, p. 9).

Louis Gaussen (1790-1863): “When our eyes rest on its page, when its words fall on our ear, let us receive it as the very voice of God” (Theopneusty or The Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, p. iv, 1842).

Justin Edwards (1787-1853): “Hearken to it daily, as the voice of god speaking to you” (A Sketch of the Life and Labors of Rev. Justin Edwards, p. 507, 1855).

10. Bible is a union of divine and human

Ellen White (1827-1915): “But the Bible, with its God-given truths expressed in the language of men, presents a union of the divine and the human. Such a union existed in the nature of Christ, who was the Son of God and the Son of man. Thus it is true of the Bible, as it was of Christ, that ‘the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us’” (1SM, p. 25, 1958).

Louis Gaussen (1790-1863): “The Scriptures are entirely the word of man, and the Scriptures are entirely the word of God… Admire them, O man! For they have spoken for thee and like thee; they have come to meet thee, all clothed with humanity; the eternal Spirit (in this respect at least, and in a certain degree,) has made himself man, to speak to them, as the eternal Son has made himself man, to redeem thee” (Theopneusty or The Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, p. 230, 1842).

Eleazar Lord (1788-1871): “… how the sacred writings can consist of two distinct elements, a Divine and a Human element, yet, consist only of the infallible words of God… he concludes that the penmen selected them, and therefore that they constitute a distinct human element of the Bible” (The Plenary Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, p. 242, 1857).

Note: Eleazar rejects thought inspiration as well as the human element in the choice of words of the Scripture.

11. All that is necessary for salvation is revealed in the Bible

Ellen White (1827-1915): “We are not to speculate regarding points upon which the word of God is silent. All that is necessary for our salvation is given in the word of God” (1SM, 228; ST, 1905).

Ellen White: “We shall meet those who allow their minds to wander into idle speculations about things which nothing is said in the word of God.  God has spoken upon every subject that affects our salvation of the soul” (RH, Feb 5, 1901).

Note: Unfortunately, she did not realize that she was one among those idle speculators!

Adam Clarke (1760-1832): “What God has thought proper to reveal, he has revealed; what he has revealed is essential to the well-being of man, and this revelation is intended not for the present time merely, nor for one people, but for all succeeding generations. The things which he has not revealed concern not man but God alone, and are therefore not to be inquired after” (Commentary on the Bible, 1831).

Thomas w. Gafton:  Campbell said, “Where the Scriptures speaks, we speak; where the Scriptures is silent, we are silent” (Alexander Campbell [1788-1866]: Leader of the Great Reformation, p. 51, 1897).

12. The Bible and the creeds

Ellen White (1827-1915): “Do not carry your creed to the Bible, and read the Scriptures in the light of that creed…The mistake made by the Roman Catholic is that he reads the Bible in the light of the priests and rulers of the church, the early fathers, or other Catholic expositors. Laying aside all the creeds or articles prescribed by any church, we are to read the Bible as the Word of God to us” (2MR, p. 89).

 John Cumming: (1807-1881): “In other words, you must not carry your creed to the Bible, and read the Bible in the light of your creed; but you must carry your creed to the Bible, and read it in the light of the Bible… Remember that the Roman Catholic’s sin is, that he reads the Bible in the light of the Church, or as he calls it, or of the fathers; but it is no less Roman Catholic to read your Bible in the light of the Thirty-nine Articles, …We are to read the Bible as God’s Word, rejecting all creeds and articles that contradict it” (Sabbath Evening readings on the New testament: St. John, p. 83, 1856).

13. Study the Bible for yourselves

Ellen White (1827-1915): “We must search the Scriptures for ourselves, so that we shall not be led astray; and while many may be led astray because there are all kinds of doctrines in our world, there is one truth. Many may come to you and tell you that they have the truth, but it is your privilege to search the Scriptures for yourself. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” We must be acquainted with the Scriptures ourselves” (RH, April 3, 1888).

Justin Edwards (1787-1853): “Each one should therefore study the word of God for himself; that he may be able rightly to judge whether what he hears is according to it or not… By this law and testimony of God all human teaching from the pulpit and the press should be tried. If men speak not according to this word, there is no light in them” (A Sketch of the Life and Labors of Rev. Justin Edwards, p. 507, 1855).

14. Not depend upon the opinions of others

Ellen White (1827-1915): “Allow no one to be brains for you, allow no one to do your thinking, your investigating, and your praying. This is the instruction we need to take to heart today” (FE, p. 307, 1923).

Ellen White: “The Bible must not be interpreted to suit the ideas of men, however long they may have held these ideas to be true. We are not to accept the opinion of commentators as the voice of God; they were erring mortals like ourselves. God has given reasoning powers to us as well as to them. We should make the Bible its own expositor… We must study the truth for ourselves. No man should be relied upon to think for us. No matter who he is, or in what position he may be placed, we are not to look upon any man as a criterion for us” (TM, pp. 106, 109, 110, 1923).

William A. Alcott (1898-1859): “It appears to me that teachers [Sabbath school teachers] should not be encouraged in the habit of suffering others, even well informed ministers, to shape their opinions. Our opinions on all subjects especially on religious subjects, should be formed according to truth, not according to any human standard. I am frequently almost impatient when I find teachers forming their opinions almost wholly from Scott’s or Clarke’s or Henry’s commentary, and not from the Bible itself. I think the Sabbath school teachers and everybody else, to read the bible for themselves and form their opinions according to their own good sense” (The Sabbath school As It Should Be, pp. 263, 264, 1841).

William Tiptaft (1803-1864): “Make the Word of God your study. Pin your faith to no man’s views” (Letters of William Tipfaft, 1830).