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Was She Inspired?


How do we know Ellen G. White was inspired by God? There were other people besides Bible authors who’ve been inspired by God, and we don’t know about them.

Steve Answers:

First allow me to respond to your question, then I’d like to challenge you regarding your comment.

Many people think Ellen White was just minding her own business and suddenly got zapped by God and started prophesying, sort of like King Saul in the Old Testament (see 1 Samuel 19:20, 24).

But the role of being a prophet is usually about passing along a message from God–simply being a conduit. If you have a brother or sister, you’ve probably been a "prophet" for your parents when you’ve said, "Mom says get off the computer now," or something like that.

Being a prophet isn’t always a fun task. Sometimes the people who receive the message turn on the messenger. Sometimes they listen and obey, but usually they don’t.

Ellen White provided two kinds of key messages for the early Adventist Church. One had to do with the beliefs we hold to be true. Now, you’d think that Ellen White would simply pronounce, "God says to believe" and that would be it.

Instead, the Adventist pioneers studied and discussed the Bible at great lengths. After they reached a conclusion, Ellen White would receive a vision that confirmed their conclusion. It was sort of like God was saying, "That’s right; keep going!"

The second type of message Ellen White passed on to early Adventists was to give some general counsel to the church as a whole or to individuals or small groups in particular.

For example, most Adventists, including Ellen White, ate a somewhat unhealthy diet. Then God revealed in a vision to Ellen White that healthful living is part of His ideal for us. Ellen White passed along that message. It was difficult for some (including Ellen White–she was human, you know) to live it.

Ellen White also had some specific counsel for specific individuals. Sometimes these were for church leaders who weren’t too interested in hearing a message from God, but she delivered it anyway. A collection of these can be found in the nine-volume set called Testimonies for the Church.

I recommend that you go to an Adventist Book Center or go to and check out some books George Knight has written about Ellen White.

What’s surprising to me is that many Adventists these days have some definite opinions about Ellen White, but very few have read what she’s written. I suggest you read her books Steps to Christ, The Desire of Ages, or Patriarchs and Prophets. I also know people who’ve been very blessed by the new paraphrase of The Desire of Ages called Messiah.

Here’s my challenge to you based on Joel 2:28, 29, which reads, "I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. . . . I will pour out my Spirit in those days."

You can expect that God won’t be silent. You should expect that many people will be passing along messages from God. And with that, you can expect that Satan will throw in his share of counterfeit messages too.

Here are the main questions you should always ask: Is the message consistent with Jesus? with the Bible? Messages from God will be consistent with Jesus and Scripture. That underscores how important it is to be hooked in with Jesus and His Word.

By the way, if you’re a Seventh-day Adventist, welcome to a people who’ve been called to be prophets as a group. We have a message to spread to the world. Are you one of the prophets too?

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