5 Things That Ellen G. White Couldn’t Do If She Were Alive Today

Can you imagine if Ellen White were alive today? No, I’m not talking of the second coming, or a zombie resurrection. I mean if she were actually alive today and her ministry were meant to be played at this time. Oh, That’d be awesome! Imagine how useful might be to have a prophet today! She could lead us into the right path, show us the right answer, and reveal the will of God. Our Church would be so benefited!

But, if you really think about this, she might not want to be here. You know why? Because there are several important things that she couldn’t be able to do!

  1. Receive ministerial credentials

Starting in 1871 until 1915 Ellen White received ordination credentials. She was given 44 ministerial credentials during her life, of which 6 of them actually remain[1]. But in 1975 the General Conference Annual Council decided to end the century-long tradition of granting ministerial licenses to women. Well, we all know that in 1989 en GCAC partially reversed its action by granting “commission” credentials to female pastors, with the explicit clause that these credentials were not leading to ordination. But this, added to the decisions taken by the General Conference Sessions in 1990, 1995 and more recently in 2015, would prevent her to receive ordination credentials. So according to the current policy, Ellen White couldn’t receive the same credentials that she received over half of her life, unless of course, she lives in the Pacific Union Conference ;)

  1. Preach in the church

Although most churches today allow women to preach, there is a small but significant amount of churches, especially in the Global South, that have issues with women standing in the pulpit. Ellen G. White was an eloquent preacher. She used to travel making evangelistic tours preaching almost in every church she was in. She rarely asked for permission, even in the most important church of early Adventism. When she was at the Battle Creek Tabernacle she stated that “neither the Lord nor Sister White will need to be dictated to by the brethren as to what subject she will bring before them. I am at home in Battle Creek… and we ask not permission to take the desk in the tabernacle. I take it as my rightful position accorded me of God.”[2]

She not only preached with utter liberty, but she also encouraged other sisters to “address the crowds whenever you can”[3] and “preach and teach the Word”[4].

I can’t imagine the leaders of one of those churches telling her “you can’t preach. You’re a woman”.

  1. Have prophetic dreams

Well, you might say, this is utterly impossible. We do believe in her prophetic gift. There is no reason whatsoever for her not to have dreams. Maybe… or maybe not. If you read the last Michigan Memo you probably noted the editorial written by Jay Gallimore, Michigan Conference current president, who stated that “as Adventists, we have never based our beliefs on dreams. Otherwise, we would have never started keeping the Sabbath” [5]. This bold statement, which certainly enjoys the wide support of the ultra-conservative Adventists, clearly dismissed the fact that we do believe in dreams. Actually it is prophesied that “in the last days” young people will have visions, and the old will have dreams (Acts 2:17-18). And we do base beliefs in dreams; actually we started keeping the Sabbath after Ellen White had a supernatural revelation of the ark in the heavenly sanctuary where the tables with the Ten Commandments were shining but “the fourth, the Sabbath commandment, shone above them all”![6].

I wonder if Ellen White could speak the messages of the Lord, received in her dreams, under a climate of disbelief and distrust.

  1. Ordain women

It’s true that as far as we know she never ordain someone. And she never explicitly advocated for women’s ordination to the pastoral ministry. But she did advocate the ordination for the Christian Help Ministry in her well-know article of 1895 in the Review. This now-extinct ministry -which involved public evangelism, health care, Bible readings, and ministering for the young and the needy- cannot be properly equalized with the work of a deacon nor a pastor, but it certainly includes some aspects of both ministries.

Nowadays there are several vocal groups claiming that women’s ordination is a “satanic deception”, a “heresy”, an “evil invention”, and a lot of other harsh appellatives. These groups maintain that ordaining a woman is not only morally wrong, but it’s a sin as well. So the current situation provides a complicated background for the ordination of women to a ministry that includes all the aspects of the Christian Help, as advocated by Ellen White.

  1. Defend her ministry.

During her life she received several attacks, especially due to fact that the Bible “forbids” women from speaking in the church and having authority. Off course, she never accepted these interpretations as valid, neither her colleagues did. We know that in one occasion Stephen Haskell had to stand in the pulpit and rebut these literalistic interpretations of Pauline passages. We also know that there were several articles in the Review opposing the idea that Paul’s texts should be taken as they read, providing instead a contextualized interpretation.

But right now those texts are being taken in the exactly same way that the opponent or her ministry did! And furthermore this method on interpretation is regarded as the only hermeneutics that are both correct and Adventist!  Under these circumstances, how can we defend her ministry today?


[1] You can see them at www.WhiteEstate.com

[2] Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, p. 215; italics added.

[3] Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, p. 439

[4] Daughters of God, p. 110

[5] It can be read in the Michigan Conference website www.misda.org

[6] Life Sketches, p. 101

4 thoughts on “5 Things That Ellen G. White Couldn’t Do If She Were Alive Today

  1. Doesn’t this make you see how crazy it is to follow someone like this? We must believe the Apostle Paul when he said it was him that God appointed to complete the work. There is no more after. False prophesy is often mixed with truth. Believe the bible people, believe what it actually says.

  2. #1. Credentials do not make a preacher. So she wouldn’t get credentials today – how would that really change anything? It’s just a status – the person is as effective in God’s service whether or not they have the credentials.
    #2. The same would likely have been true in her day – those “Global South” societal norms didn’t suddenly change…
    #3. There’s a difference in believing in/believing her dreams and basing a faith on them. Our faith is based on the Bible, and the dreams simply complement what the Bible teaches.
    #4. Same as #1.
    #5. Sounds like we’re in the same situation today as they were then. People in every age will believe or disbelieve Ellen White, because Satan wants to divide the church and lead it’s members away from God any way he can.

    Conclusion: Things aren’t that much different now than then. Sure, the world is constantly getting more sinful and detached from God, but specific circumstances such as these aren’t really changing, or don’t have that much of an effect overall (I don’t know why women’s ordination is such a huge deal – you can preach either way. Dividing the church over it is not worth it. Don’t take this to mean I necessarily oppose women’s ordination, either).

  3. Even if we humans we believe in her or not, she did wat she was up to, and she is nomore bt her works is there and we will follow if we can, she is a role model to us women in the whole world, may God bless her wherever she is and her soul rest in peace

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