The Purpose of Ellen White’s Writings
The Purpose of Ellen White’s Writings
It is important that we understand the purpose and objective of the writings of Ellen White. What was her intention? How did she intend that her writings should be used? Accordingly, I will share a few points that should prove beneficial in explaining the above questions. Theses points are taken from the book, Reading Ellen White by George Knight, a noted Church Historian.
Not to Take the Place of the Bible
It is clearly stated by Mrs. White that her writings were never intended to replace the Bible. In the introduction to The Great Controversy she penned, “God has committed to men the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are to be accepted as an authoritative, infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the revealer of doctrines, and the test of experience . . .. The Spirit was not given –nor can it ever be bestowed –to supersede the Bible; for the Scriptures explicitly state that the word of God is the standard by which all teaching [including her own] and experience must be tested” (GC vii).
To Direct Back to the Bible
George Knight notes that in a dream in 1871 Ellen White saw herself surrounding the Bible with several of her Testimonies for the Church. “You are not familiar with the Scriptures,” she heard herself saying to the people. “If you had made God’s word your study, with a desire to reach the Bible standard and attain to Christian perfection, you would not have needed the Testimonies. It is because you have neglected to acquaint yourselves with God’s inspired Book that He has sought to reach you by simple, direct testimonies, calling your attention to the words of inspiration which you have neglected to obey, and urging you to fashion your lives in accordance with its pure and elevated teachings” (2T 605). Additionally, she explained that the written testimonies “are not to give new light, but to impress vividly upon the heart the truths of inspiration already revealed” (ibid.).
To Rebuke Sin and Urge Obedience to the Bible
Linked to the first two, Ellen White counseled, “If the people who now profess to be God’s peculiar treasure would obey His requirements, as specified in His word, special testimonies would not be given to awaken them to their duty and impress upon them their sinfulness and their fearful danger in neglecting to obey the word of God. Consciences have been blunted because light has been set aside, neglected, and despised” (5T 667).
To Apply Biblical Principles in a Modern Setting
Mrs. White claimed that “the Bible was given for practical purposes” (1SM 20). The same could be said of her writings. George Knight pointed out that “They do not set forth a traditional systematic theology, nor has she assumed the role of an infallible Bible commentator. To the contrary, they are practical to the utmost. Beyond rebuking sin, they point out the better way and provide guidance for daily Christian living and for the daily application of biblical principles” (Reading Ellen White 19).
To Prepare a People for the Final Days of Earth’s History
In the book The Great Controversy and others, she magnifies the biblical issues that will face God’s last-day people. “Her whole ministry,” observes George Knight, “aimed at not only pointing to the return of Jesus in the clouds of heaven but also counseling men and women on the necessary preparation for that day. In a sense she echoed the mission of Christ, who urged His people to be ready for His coming (see Matt. 24:36-25:46), which would be soon (Rev. 22:20). In The Great Controversy, we read that “none but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict” (pp. 593, 594).