Crisis in authority

It is human nature to appeal for support to whatever authority agrees with us. But when church leaders took this tack, Ellen White pointed them hack to the only real Authority.

George R. Knight is professor of church history, Theological Seminary, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan. This article is adapted from a chapter in his book Angry Saints published by the Review and Herald Publishing Association, Hagerstown, Maryland, in 1989.

There is almost a craze for orthodoxy. A resolution was introduced into the college meeting that no new doctrine be taught there till it had been adopted by the General Conference. Mother and I killed it dead, after a hard fight." 1 Thus wrote W. C. White near the close of the 1888 General Conference session in Minneapolis. His comments reflect a division among the Adventist leadership on the proper use of authority in settling theological disputes.

The 1888 conference provides an excellent opportunity to study the use of authority in making theological decisions, since the issues were viewed by both Adventist factions as important and verifiable. The importance and visibility of the disputed points on Galatians and Daniel provide insight into the use of authority that can help Adventists ad dress issues they face in the late twentieth century.

There are some subjects related to the 1888 meetings that are surrounded with question marks. That is not true concerning the manner in which each side tried to sustain the "truth" of its position. The surviving documents reveal that the various factions sought to win their point through the use of administrative authority, expert opinion, authoritative books, denominational tradition, creedal legislation, the writings of Ellen White, and the Bible. There is no issue more important to the Christian than authority. All that a person believes and does is based upon some view of authority. Adventist leaders were split over the problem in 1888, and they are still split over it today. Perhaps the lesson on religious authority is the most crucial thing Adventists can learn from the Minneapolis experience.

Appeals to human authority

Seventh-day Adventist traditionalists appealed to at least four forms of human authority in their attempt to settle the theological issues troubling the denomination in 1888. Both Uriah Smith and George I. Butler made appeals to expert opinion and the authority of established Adventist authors. While the majority of the ministers may have agreed with them, their appeals were met by a chorus of objections from Adventism's reform element.

E. J. Waggoner was as lucid on the topic as anyone. In refuting Butler's use of expert opinion to settle the Galatians issue, Waggoner met the older man at his most vulnerable spot. "I care nothing," argued Waggoner, "for what a man says. I want to know what God says. We do not teach for doctrine the word of men, but the word of God. I am verily convinced that you would not quote Greenfield if you could find Scripture argument in stead. " If Adventists were to begin relying on authoritative opinion, he asserted, "we might as well turn papists at once; for to pin one's faith to the opinions of man is of the very essence of the Papacy. It matters not whether we ad here to the opinions of one man, or to the opinions of 40; whether we have one pope or 40." 2 After demonstrating that Butler's use of such authorities as Philip Schaff would lead to strange conclusions if used for the Adventist view of the Sabbath, Waggoner hoped out loud "that at this late day we shall not have introduced among us the custom of quoting the opinion of doctors of divinity to support any theory." Seventh-day Adventists "should be Protestants indeed, testing everything by the Bible alone." 3 A. T. Jones backed up Waggoner's position, telling Uriah Smith that it would never solve the problem of the identity of the 10 horns to claim "that Bishop Chandler said so." 4

Adventists were tempted to use not only the standard Christian authors as authorities but their own well-established authors, such as Smith, as well. W. C. White pointed out that some Adventist ministers gave "equal importance to the quotations of Scripture, and to Elder Smith's comments."5 That was largely because of Ellen White's commendation of his Daniel and the Revelation. When the book was being revised for translation in 1887, W. C. White recalled, "they brought forward what had been written by her endorsing the work of Elder Smith, and [the] teaching that he had the help of heavenly angels in his work; and these things were enlarged upon, until the president of the publishing association practically took the position that Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation was inspired, and ought not to be changed in any way. This, of course, made a candid and fair study of the questions under consideration almost impossible." 6 W. C. White hoped in February 1889 that the "infallibility doctrine" regarding Smith would soon dissipate.

Closely related to the authority of ex pert opinion was that of authoritative position. The iron-willed Butler was particularly susceptible to appeal to position. His concept of leaders having "clearer views" and more important positions than followers set him up for abuse of authority. Ellen White chided him in October 1888 for favoring those who agreed with him, while looking with suspicion on those who "do not feel obliged to receive their impressions and ideas from human beings, act[ing] only as they act, talk[ing] only as they talk, think[ing] only as they think, and, in fact, mak[ing] themselves little less than machines." 8 Soon after the 1888 meetings, she would write that Butler "thinks his position gives him such power that his voice is infallible." 9

Butler's approach in encouraging Adventists "to look to one man to think for them, to be conscience for them," had created too many weaklings who were "unable to stand at their post of duty" faithfully. 10 Ellen White said that she "never was more alarmed" than at the 1888 General Conference session, where ministers felt that they could not even study the Galatians question in the Bible "because one man is not here." Because people had placed Butler where God should be, they had ruined both their own Christian experience and his.

Denigrating both administrative and expert human authority in doctrinal is sues, Ellen White pointed out in December 1888 that "we should not consider that. . . Elder Butler [and] Elder Smith are the guardians of the doctrines for Seventh-day Adventists, and that no one may dare to express an idea that differs from theirs. My cry has been: Investigate the Scriptures for yourselves. . . . No man is to be authority for us." 12

A third invalid use of authority at Minneapolis was seen in those who wanted to rely on Adventist tradition to settle a point. Both Smith and Butler repeatedly argued that since the Adventist positions on Galatians and Daniel had stood as truth for 40 years, they should not be changed. Smith even went so far as to claim that if the tradition was wrong, he would be forced to renounce Adventism. 13

E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones, of course, rejected the appeal to tradition. J. H. Waggoner backed up his son. "I have long believed," he penned, "it to be a serious error, which was growing up among us, that an individual, or even a publishing house, should send forth their views and hold the denomination bound to that view because it chanced to be published by them. . . . Expositions of [the] Scriptures cannot rest on" the authority of tradition. "They can be settled only by calm investigation, and just reasoning, and then all must have an equal right to express their opinions." 14

Ellen White, as usual, was in the reformers' corner. "As a people," she warned, "we are certainly in great danger, if we are not constantly guarded, of considering our ideas, because long cherished, to be Bible doctrines and on every point infallible, and measuring everyone by the rule of our interpretation of Bible truth. This is our danger, and this would be the greatest evil that could ever come to us as a people." 15

A final appeal to human authority by the Smith-Butler group was seen in their drive for a voted creedlike statement that would set the pre-1888 theology in concrete. Butler hoped that at the General Conference session his nine-man Theological Committee would lay the groundwork for establishing by vote the truth on the law in Galatians and the 10 kingdoms of Daniel 7. His hopes faded, however, when the committee split five to four. Being an astute politician, he did not take the matter onto the floor of the session itself, since there would be "a big public fight over it." 16 Settling for a compromise, he obtained the approval of a resolution that "doctrinal views not held by a fair majority of our people" were not to be made a part of the instruction in Adventist schools or published in denominational papers until they had been "examined and approved by the leading brethren of experience." 17Since Butler and Smith were obviously "the leading brethren of experience," this resolution gave them virtual veto power, but they did not have the formally voted action they desired.

The drive for a "creedal" statement would continue up through 1888. In May 1887 Leon Smith (who nearly always followed his father Uriah's lead) wrote an editorial on "The Value of a 'Creed' " for the Review. To Leon, a creed as a summary of beliefs was one of the most plainly taught truths in the Bible. "Let us," he concluded, "take the 'creed' which the Inspired Word gives us, be come thoroughly grounded in its teachings, and hold on to it regardless of the adverse declamation of those who aspire to be teachers of a new gospel." 18 Leon's last sentence was obviously aimed at Waggoner and Jones. His creed, like that of his father and Butler, would undoubtedly have contained statements on the law in Galatians and the 10 horns of Daniel 7, since in their minds these were central Bible teachings. One problem with creeds is that they have tended to set marginal issues of current interest firmly next to the central teachings of the Bible as landmarks of the faith. Such new landmarks, once established in a creed, become almost impossible to overturn in the future, since any change is interpreted as destroying the faith of the fathers. That kind of perpetuity, of course, is exactly what the traditionalists hoped to achieve at Minneapolis.

The Minneapolis meetings saw attempts at creedal-like resolutions on both the 10 horns and the law in Galatians. On October 17, for example, G. B. Start called for a vote on the 10 kingdoms. " 'I'd like,' he said, 'to put an everlasting settler on this question so it would not come up for argument again.' " The audience responded with "cries of 'amen,' 'amen.'" 19 Such at tempts, however, were successfully resisted by Waggoner and the Whites. Mrs. White wrote on the last day of the meetings that she and "Willie . . . had to watch at every point lest there should be moves made, resolutions passed, that would prove detrimental to the future work." 20 W. C. White had earlier told the delegates that he would feel compelled "to preach what he believed, whatever way the conference decided the question," concerning the 10 horns if it were put to a vote. 21 Both Mrs. White and Waggoner pled for further Bible study before a decision of any kind was made. "The church may pass resolution upon resolution to put down all disagreement of opinions," she penned in 1892, "but we cannot force the mind and will, and thus root out disagreement. These resolutions may conceal the discord, but they cannot quench it and establish perfect agreement." She suggested that "Christlike forbearance" of some variation of belief was necessary. On the other hand, "the great truths of the Word of God are so clearly stated that none need make a mistake in understanding them." But she stood firmly against those who magnified "mere molehills . . . into mountains and . . . made barriers be tween brethren."22

Unfortunately, the foundation of the problem with the traditionalists of 1888 (and much of the rest of church history) was that they were confused between molehills and mountains, believing that their molehills were truly the most important mountains in the realm of spiritual geography. But because they had no clear-cut Bible position for such "mountains," they were forced to look to creedal legislation or some other form of human authority to support their views.

Appeals to Ellen White's authority

All agreed, however, that a "testimony" from Ellen White on the disputed points would be better than human authority and would settle the issue. After all, were not her testimonies from God? Butler was particularly excited with the possibility of getting an answer direct from God via Ellen White's pen. Be tween June 1886 and October 1888 he wrote a series of letters trying to encourage or even pressure Ellen White to provide the authoritative interpretation he needed to settle the Galatians issue. Had he been more successful, he could have written a work entitled How to Push a Prophet.

Butler, using good psychology, began in a mild manner to elicit a response from Mrs. White. On June 20, 1886, he wrote to her, complaining of Jones and Waggoner's teaching at Healdsburg College and their writing in the Signs that set forth the law in Galatians as the moral law--a point, he emphasized, that was out of harmony with traditional Adventist teachings. Butler then slid into his appeal by gently nudging her toward the proper answer: "I heard it intimated years ago that you had light concerning the added law, to the effect that it related to the remedial system rather than the moral law. I think this question ought in some way to be set at rest. It would be a most bitter pill to many of our leading brethren to be compelled to see the idea taught generally, that the law which was added . . . was the moral law itself." 23

On August 23 the General Conference president came a little more out in the open on the topic. After noting that the subject was creating controversy, Butler became quite specific about the confrontation between Stephen Pierce and J. H. Waggoner in the 1850s when the Adventist leadership had adopted the ceremonial law interpretation. Butler then suggested that he might develop a tract on the topic, since "the true view has never been yet fully brought out in print." Finally, he hinted that he knew very little of her opinion, thereby providing Mrs. White with an opportunity to rubber-stamp the "true" view that he had just finished outlining to her. That Butler expected a reply is evident from his next few sentences: "Of course it would be quite a shock to me, after studying the question so long and having it seem so clear to me, if it should be shown to you the position I hold was wrong. But I feel sure I would accept it and at least keep quiet if I could not clearly understand it. This is the only proper position to take, while we acknowledge the gifts of the Spirit." 24 President Butler could afford to be humble because he had no doubt that Ellen White would validate his position. She, however, once again neglected to respond to his gentle invitations to settle the issue. Her reply was silence on the topic.

By December 16, 1886, Butler was growing impatient with the silent prophetess. His plan to have the issue settled by a creedal resolution at the General Conference session had failed, and he was beginning to feel desperate regarding Ellen White's lack of cooperation with his tender pleas. "We have been waiting for years to hear from you on the subject [of Galatians]," he blurted out, "knowing that its agitation would end only in debate." Twelve days later he flatly told her that "nothing short of a testimony from heaven" would change his mind on issues intimately related to the problem in Galatians. 25

March 1887 found Butler in somewhat better spirits. He had received Ellen White's February rebuke of Waggoner and Jones for making their controversial views public. Butler took some of her remarks to be an indication that she was on his side in the Galatians controversy.

He was certain now that Ellen White would say the correct things. He there fore reminded her that he had written to her several times on the subject, "but got no reply." While claiming that he was not urging her to make a statement, he ominously hinted that he felt "certain that after all the stir over this question it will make constant trouble till your opinion is known. You see if it [doesn't]." "If our people knew that you had light that the moral law was not the added law, the question would be settled in short order. That is precisely what our people are waiting with much anxiety to know."

Feeling certain that Mrs. White would now come out in public for his position, he was both hurt and shocked when she wrote to him in April that her letter rebuking the younger men did not mean that she believed his position was correct. 27 After that "betrayal," Butler did not waste any more ink asking for her opinion on the topic.

By October 1,1888, the General Conference president was beyond pleading for Ellen White's support. He attacked and condemned her for her silence despite his repeated requests on the Galatians issue. He even blamed her for his broken health. Beyond that he openly threatened her. If she did not come up with the proper interpretation, Butler wrote, not only would it "open a wide door for other innovations to come in and break down our old positions of faith," but it "will tend to break the confidence of our people in the testimonies themselves. And this whole matter, I believe, will do more to break down confidence in your work than anything which has occurred since this cause has had an existence .. . If our people come to think that the other side is supported, it will break the faith of many of our leading workers in the testimonies. There is no other possible result." 28 There is no doubt that Butler was including himself among those whose faith would be bro ken.

The sequence of Butler's letters is interesting, given the way many Adventists view the counsels of Ellen White. Many have silently or verbally wished that she were here in our day so that they could ask her the "real" meaning of a scriptural passage. In the Butler sequence we find her answer to such an approach--silence, frustrating silence. She refused to play into the hands of the traditionalists who practically demanded that she settle the Galatians issue by providing an authoritative answer, either by appealing to a testimony she had written to J. H. Waggoner in the 1850s but subsequently lost or by making an authoritative statement. In other words, they wanted her to function as a theological policewoman or an exegetical referee. But she refused to do so. As a result, she lost her credibility with many.

Not only did Ellen White refuse to settle the biblical issue by appealing to the Testimonies, but she went so far as to infer to the delegates at the Minneapolis meetings on October 24, 1888, that it was providential that she had lost the testimony to J. H. Waggoner in which she had purportedly settled the issue once and for all in the 1850s. "God has a purpose in this. He wants us to go to the Bible and get the Scripture evidence." 29 In other words, she was more interested in what the Bible had to say on the subject than in what she had written. The Testimonies were not to take the place of the Bible. She would emphasize that point again in early 1889 in the publication of Testimony 33, which has an entire section on that topic. She made it explicit that her writings were to bring people "back to the Word" and to aid them in understanding the biblical principles, 30 but she never held them up as a divine commentary on Scripture.

In the face of Ellen White's refusal to "produce" a testimony on Galatians, the Minneapolis traditionalists must have felt a wave of thankfulness that they had her published writings on the topic, especially since she had seemingly identified the law in Galatians in her Sketches From the Life of Paul (1883). On October 24, J. H. Morrison utilized Sketches in his at tempt to demonstrate the validity of the ceremonial law interpretation. He read to the delegates: "He [Paul] describes the visit which he made to Jerusalem to secure a settlement of the very questions which are now agitating the churches of Galatia, as to whether the Gentiles should submit to circumcision and keep the ceremonial law." Morrison next read from the discussion of the nature of the Galatians' problem: "Having gained this point, they [the Judaizing teachers] induced them [the Christians at Galatia] to return to the observance of the ceremonial law as essential to salvation. Faith in Christ, and obedience to the law of Ten Commandments, were regarded as of minor importance." This last quotation seemed to accomplish two points at once--it apparently validated the ceremonial law interpretation, while explicitly dis counting Waggoner's position in one fatal blow. Morrison then read where Ellen White spoke of the yoke of bondage that is mentioned in both Acts 15:10 and Galatians 5:1: "This yoke was not the law of Ten Commandments, as those who op pose the binding claim of the law assert; but Peter referred to the law of ceremonies, which was made null and void by the crucifixion of Christ." 31 Having submitted this evidence, Morrison and the traditionalists must have believed they had clinched the argument. After all, they had a quotation from Ellen White, and they believed her commentary was the final authority on Bible truth.

That position, however, was not the one that Ellen White took at Minneapolis. That very morning (before Morrison's presentation) in addressing the Galatians issue, she had said: "I cannot take my position on either side until I have studied the question." 32 It was in that context that she noted that it was providential that she could not find her testimony to J. H. Waggoner on the topic. It would have been misused to keep people from the study of God's Word. Ellen White had light for the General Conference delegates on the subject of Galatians, but that light, as she repeatedly asserted, was that they needed to study the Bible and not rely on any other form of authority as they sought the meaning of Scripture. She would stamp that mes sage home in her last recorded sermon at Minneapolis "A Call to a Deeper Study of the Word." 33 She was apparently not impressed with Morrison's use of Sketches to prove his point. We have no indication that she considered the matter settled by that method, nor did she quote her own writings at Minneapolis to decide any of the theological, historical, or biblical issues. Her writings had their purposes, but apparently they were not intended to provide an infallible commentary on the Bible.

Mrs. White would take the same position 20 years later in the controversy over the meaning of the "daily" in Daniel 8. In that struggle the traditionalists (this time led by S. N. Haskell) held that the new interpretation would "undermine present truth" because the old view had been based upon a statement in Ellen White's Early Writings. Thus the new interpretation of the daily was "contrary to old established points of [the] faith." 34 Haskell was explicit concerning his view of the relation of Mrs. White's writings to the Bible: "We ought to understand such expressions by the aid of the Spirit of Prophecy.. . . For this purpose the Spirit of Prophecy comes to us. ... All points are to be solved" in that manner. 35 Mrs. White made short shrift of Haskell's arguments. "I have had no instruction on the point under discussion," she wrote. She saw no need for the controversy be cause "this is not a subject of vital importance. " "Let all contention cease." 36 As at Minneapolis, she was not supportive of people, no matter how sincere they might be, using her writings to create new landmarks or to create rigid interpretations of Scripture. 37

The authority of the Bible

Waggoner, Jones, and the Whites stood in harmony on the use of authority in settling theological issues. All three held that the Bible is the only determiner of Christian belief. As a result, they were united against the attempts of the old guard to utilize other forms of authority to settle biblical issues.

Ellen White was particularly insistent on the need for Bible study in settling theological disputes. In April 1887, for example, she wrote to Butler and Smith that "we want Bible evidence for every point we advance. We do not want to tide over points, as Elder Canright has done, with assertions." 38 In July 1888 she set forth her position with the great est clarity when she published in the Re view that "the Bible is the only rule of faith and doctrine." 39

But her most important statement concerning the theological authority struggle that was agitating the denominational leaders as they drifted toward Minneapolis was penned on August 5, 1888. On that day she wrote a letter to the "brethren who shall assemble in General Conference." That circular letter has received scant attention in the past, but it should be seen as one of the most important documents relating to the Minneapolis General Conference session. The letter specifically high lighted the developing crisis related to the spirit of Minneapolis and the solution to that problem through assimilating the spirit of Jesus. More important, however, it was a forceful call for every individual to study the Bible and to avoid merely maintaining the old ways. "We are not to set our stakes," she wrote in alluding to the Smith-Butler position, "and then interpret everything to reach this set point. Here is where some of our great Reformers [of the past] have failed, and this is the reason that men who today might be mighty champions for God and the truth are warring against the truth." She urged Adventists not to make the same mistake, and called for open study at Minneapolis of the controverted is sues. 40 Butler could not escape the implications of that public letter. His hand had been forced, and by the end of the month he announced in the Review that the topics upon which "some difference of opinion may exist" would be studied at the forthcoming General Conference session. 41

"Search the Scriptures carefully to see what is truth," Mrs. White penned in her August 5, 1888, letter. "The truth can lose nothing by close investigation. Let the Word of God speak for itself; let it be its own interpreter, and the truth will shine like precious gems amid the rubbish. " She chided the Adventist ministry for too easily accepting the opinions of others. "There is a most wonderful laziness that is indulged in by a large class of our ministers who are willing others should search the Scriptures for them; and they take the truth from their lips as a positive fact, but they do not know it to be Bible truth, through their own individual research, and by the deep convictions of the Spirit of God upon their hearts and minds. . . .

"Our people," she continued, "individually must understand Bible truth more thoroughly, for they certainly will be called before councils; they will be criticized by keen and critical minds. It is one thing to give assent to the truth, and another thing, through close examination as Bible students, to know what is truth. . . . Many, many will be lost be cause 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 under standing. . . .

"The Word of God is the great detector of error; to it we believe everything must be brought. The Bible must be our standard for every doctrine and practice. . . . We are to receive no one's opinion without comparing it with the Scriptures. Here is divine authority which is supreme in matters of faith. It is the Word of the living God that is to decide all controversies. It is when men mingle their own human smartness with God's words of truth in giving sharp thrusts to those who are in controversy with them, that they show that they have not a sacred reverence for God's Inspired Word. They mix the human with the divine, the common with the sacred, and they belittle God's Word." 42

With that forceful epistle, Ellen White gave a mighty forward thrust to a theme she would uplift at Minneapolis and throughout the 1890s. On the eve of the 1888 meetings she mentioned that Butler and Smith were "very loath to have anything said upon the law in Galatians, but," she noted, "I cannot see how it can be avoided. We must take the Bible as our standard and we must diligently search its pages for light and evidences of truth." 43 During the meetings her mes sages were honeycombed with that theme. Three of her comments at Minneapolis on the topic are particularly insightful. First, she claimed that "if we have the truth it will stand" careful investigation. 44 Second, she indicated that she could not take a position on the controverted issues until she had studied the questions from the Bible. She did not seek to enforce an interpretation from her published works. Nor did she intend to sit passively and wait for a vision. Her method was the same as that which she recommended for others active Bible study. Third, she continued to uphold the supremacy of the Bible. "The Scriptures must be your study," she told the delegates in her last message, "then you will know that you have the truth. . . . You should not believe any doctrine simply because another says it is truth. You should not believe it because Elder Smith, or Elder Kilgore, or Elder Van Horn, or Elder Haskell says it is truth, but because God's voice has declared it in His living Oracles." 45 She could have as easily added her own name to that list, given the position she had taken during the meetings.

Mrs. White was adamant, during the conference and in its aftermath, that both sides of the argument in the Galatians controversy needed to be submitted to the searching scrutiny of exacting Bible study. On December 9, 1888, she asked a crucial question: "If every idea we have entertained in doctrines is truth, will not the truth bear to be investigated? Will it totter and fall if criticized? If so," she answered, "let it fall, the sooner the better. The spirit that would close the door to investigation of points of truth in a Christlike manner is not the Spirit from above." 46 Two days later she wrote to Butler that "the Bible, the Bible alone, laid up in the heart and blessed by the Spirit of God, can make man right and keep him right." 47

Ellen White leaves us with no doubt as to the supremacy of the Bible in faith and practice. At Minneapolis she was truly a "lesser light" pointing to (rather than dominating) the "greater light" of the Bible.

Applying the lessons on authority

The cycle of crisis in authority tends to repeat itself over time. If Smith and Butler had been looked to as the authorities in 1888, Jones, Waggoner, and Prescott took over their role for a large number of Adventists in the 1890s. That tradition has been carried over into the twentieth century. Even as recently as 1987, Jones and Waggoner have been linked together in an influential book as part of "the inspired trio." 48 Such an identification tends to confound the men with their message. Beyond that, and more important, such an identification perpetuates one of the foundational problems of Minneapolis the failure of Adventists to use the Bible as the only standard of doctrine and practice. Mrs. White stood firmly behind Jones and Waggoner be cause of their call for openness in Bible study and their Bible-based emphasis on Christ's righteousness. Her call was for Adventists to become involved in ear nest Bible study in the same way that the young reformers of 1888 were involved. To fixate on their words and to read the Bible through their eyes is merely to re peat the mistake of the post-Reformation era as the second and third generations of Protestants read their Bibles in the light of the sixteenth-century Reformers. The great call of 1888 was for Adventists to move away from such false paths and to become active in intense, Spirit-guided study of the Scriptures. The challenge is to expand and enrich the theological beachhead of Jones and Waggoner, not to canonize it.

1 W. C. White to Mary White, Nov. 3,

2 E. J. Waggoner, The Gospel in the Book of
Galatians, pp. 56, 59.

3 Ibid., pp. 66,67, 60.

4 A. T. Jones to Uriah Smith, Dec. 3, 1886. Cf.
W. C. White to George I. Butler, Aug. 16, 1888.

5 W. C. White to C. Eldridge, May 14, 1887.

6 W. C. White to Stephen N. Haskell, Dec. 9,

7 W. C. White to J. H. Waggoner, Feb. 27,
1889. See also Arthur L. White, "Thoughts on
Daniel and the Revelation," Ministry, January
1945, pp. 11-13,46.

8 Ellen G. White to George I. Butler, Oct. 14,

9 Ellen G. White to Mary White, Nov. 4,1888.

10 Ellen G. White to S. N. Haskell, Dec. 11,

11 EllenG. White manuscript 9, Oct. 24, 1888.

12 Ellen G. White to William M. Healey, Dec.
9, 1888. Cf. Ellen G. White manuscript 37, c.

13 W. C. White handwritten notes on the
General Conference, book 1 ("E"), Oct. 15,
p. 27; Uriah Smith to A. T. Robinson, Sept. 21,

14 J. H. Waggoner to the General Conference,
Oct. 10, 1887.

15 Ellen G. White manuscript 37, c. 1890.

16 George I. Butler to Ellen G. White, Dec. 16,

17 Uriah Smith, Review and Herald, Dec. 14,
p. 779.

18 L. A. Smith, Review and Herald, May 10,
1887, pp. 298, 299.

19 Quoted in the Minneapolis Journal, Oct. 18,
3. 2; and in the Minneapolis Tribune, Oct.
18, 1888, p. 5.

20 Ellen G. White to Mary White, Nov. 4, 1888.

21 W. C. White to Mary White, Nov. 3, 1888.

22 Ellen G. White manuscript 24, 1892. Ellen
G. White practiced what she preached on the point
of variation in beliefs. In the controversy over the
covenants in 1890, for example, she did not hold
that the ministers had to agree with her position
that had been published in Patriarchs and Prophets
ets a position she had been "shown" was correct.

23 George I. Butler to Ellen G. White, June 20,

24 George I. Butler to Ellen G. White, Aug. 23,

25 George I. Butler to Ellen G. White, Dec. 16
and 28, 1886.

26 George I. Butler to Ellen G. White, Mar. 31,

27 Ellen G. White to George I. Butler and Uriah
Smith, Apr. 5, 1887.

28 George I. Butler to Ellen G. White, Oct. 1,

29 Ellen G. White manuscript 9, Oct. 24,
J See Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 5, pp.

30 See Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 5, pp.

31 ____, Sketches From the Life of Paul, pp.
193, 188, 68. For data bearing on the date of the
readings from Sketches, see W. C. White handwrit
ten notes on the 1888 General Conference, book 1
("E"), pp. 63, 67; Wahlen, Selected Aspects of Ellet
]. Waggoner's Eschatology, p. 74; Ellen G. White
manuscript 24, c. November or December 1

32 Ellen G. White manuscript 9, Oct. 24, :

33 Ellen G. White manuscript 15, November

34 S. N. Haskell to Ellen G. White, June 30,
1907; Feb. 25,1909; Dec. 6, 1909; S. N. Haskell to
Ellen G. White and W. C. White, Nov. 18, 1907;
S. N. Haskell to W. C. White, Dec. 6, 1909; S. N.
Haskell to C. C. Crisler, Mar. 30 and Apr. 15,
1908; S. N. Haskell to W. W. Prescott, Nov. 15,
1907; W. W. Prescott to S. N. Haskell, Dec. 1,
1907; EllenG. White, Early Writings, pp. 74, 75.

35 Ibid.

36 Ellen G. White manuscript 11, July 31, 1910;
Ellen G. White to "brethren in the ministry," Aug.
3, 1910. For an excellent discussion of the struggle
over the "daily," see Gilbert M. Valentine,
"William Warren Prescott: Seventh-day Adventist
Educator," 2 vols. (Ph.D. dissertation, Andrews
University, 1982), pp. 389-426.

Some have suggested that the thesis I have
argued regarding Ellen G. White's relation to the
Bible in the resolution of theological differences
breaks down in her treatment in 1905 of A. F.
Ballenger's problem over the sanctuary teaching.
On that occasion she came across much more
authoritatively than she did during the Galatians and
"daily" conflicts. Thus the Ballenger incident is an
excellent test case for my thesis. As a preliminary
hypothesis, it seems to me that there is a fundamental
difference between Ballenger's case and the
other two. From Ellen G, White's perspective, the
point at issue in the Ballenger controversy had
already been thoroughly studied from the Bible by
Adventist scholars, whereas the law in Galatians
and the "daily" still needed more attention when
disagreement arose over them. As a result, she
related to Ballenger's situation differently than she
did in the other cases. Such a hypothesis has yet to
be tested, but that testing should prove to be an
interesting and meaningful task for some scholar in
the future. It should be noted that Ellen G. White's
seemingly different treatment of Ballenger's
situation should not be attributed to some historical
development in her theological assertiveness, since
the Ballenger incident is chronologically spanned
by the Galatians and "daily" controversies.

37 Ibid.

38 Ellen G. White to George I. Butler and Uriah
Smith, Apr. 5, 1887.

39 Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, July 17,
1888, p. 449.

40 Ellen G. White to "brethren who shall assemble
in General Conference, "Aug. 5, 1888.

41 George I. Butler, Review and Herald, Aug. 28,
1888, p. 560.

42 Ellen G. White to "brethren who shall assemble
in General Conference," Aug. 5, 1888.

43 Ellen G. White to Mary White, Oct. 9, 1888.

44 Ellen G. White manuscript 9, Oct. 24, 1888.

45 Ellen G. White manuscript 15, November

46 Ellen G. White to William M. Healey, Dec.
9, 1888.

47 Ellen G. White to George I. Butler and wife,
Dec. 11, :

48 Robert J. Wieland and Donald K. Short, 1888
Re-examined, rev. ed., p. 75.

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George R. Knight is professor of church history, Theological Seminary, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan. This article is adapted from a chapter in his book Angry Saints published by the Review and Herald Publishing Association, Hagerstown, Maryland, in 1989.

February 1991

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