I recently posted a comment on an article written in Ministry magazine, which aim was to demonstrate that Ellen G. White, one of the founders and the prophetess of Seventh-day Adventism, was evangelical in her beliefs. The article can be found at:
When I posted this comment, I did not realize that it was an Adventist site. The tenor of the author makes it plain that he is not an Adventist writer. However, I think that the author is unaware that although Mrs. White held to certain evangelical beliefs, these beliefs were held in a suspension of doctrines that are incompatible with the essential doctrines that Evangelical Christians hold as important and true.
My reply to the article, with minor changes, follows:
“This article seems to be one-sided. Did the author read a wide selection of the works of Ellen G. White? I suppose Joseph Smith and Charles Taze Russell would also seem to be evangelical if judged by limited quotations. I doubt that Ellen White’s beliefs listed below (embraced by all faithful Seventh-day Adventists) could be considered compatible with Evangelical Christianity:
- Biblical inspiration: “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. Men will often say such an expression is not like God. But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible. The writers of the Bible were God’s penmen, not His pen.” (Selected Messages, Vol. 1, Chapter One)
- Christ’s atonement was not complete at the cross: “[In 1844] our great High Priest entered the Holy of Holies … to there make atonement for all who are shown to be entitled to his benefits.” “Christ entered the holy of holies to perform the closing work of the atonement” The Great Controversy, 308, 428
- Adherence to certain old covenant laws is necessary in order to qualify for salvation (sabbath, food laws, tithing)
- “The Sabbath is the great test question. It is the line of demarkation between the loyal and true and the disloyal and transgressor. … It is the seal of the living God.” Selected Messages Vol. 3, p. 423.
- She believed that Michael the archangel is Jesus, and that “Satan was once an honored angel in heaven, next to Jesus Christ” (Spiritual Gifts, vol.1)
- Christ took a fallen nature: “Christ took human nature and bore the infirmities and degeneracy of the race. He took our nature and its deteriorating condition” (Questions on Doctrine, pp. 654-656)”
- The scapegoat is Satan, who ultimately bears the sins of the saved: “It was seen, also, that while the sin offering pointed to Christ as a sacrifice, and the high priest represented Christ as a mediator, the scapegoat typified Satan, the author of sin, upon whom the sins of the truly penitent will finally be placed. … Christ will place all these sins upon Satan, … so Satan, … will at last suffer the full penalty of sin” (The Great Controversy, p. 422, 485, 486).
- The Seventh-day Adventist church is the only true (remnant) church; all other Christian churches are Babylon and her daughters.
The above is an incomplete list. None of the above quotations and points should be offensive to an Adventist. Any knowledgeable, conservative Evangelical Christian should take exception to all of the points above.
This is not meant to demean Ellen White, Seventh-day Adventists, their beliefs or practices. It is simply meant to demonstrate that Ellen White’s beliefs, while holding commonality in some points with Evangelical Christianity, is ultimately incompatible with it from the point of the gospel, systematic theology and worldview.
The same judgment could be made if comparing Roman Catholicism with Fundamentalist Protestantism – while they hold certain points in common, they are ultimately two entirely separate systems of thought, biblical interpretation, and point of view. Don’t equate Fundamentalism with Catholicism, or Evangelicalism with Adventism. It confuses everyone and is unsatisfactory to all parties involved.”