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Statements, Context, and Why We

Shouldn't Misjudge the Critics

Often when we look over the allegations against the writings of Ellen White and study the matter further, we start to realize that many of her statements are taken out of context.  It is easy to thus conclude that the critic has been deceptive in his presentation.  But this is not always the case.  We would like to exercise the benefit of the doubt on behalf of the critic for three reasons:

  1. 1)The critic may have gotten the statement from another critic and thus assumed that the context had already been checked out. 

This is human nature.  When we hear or read something we tend to instantly form an opinion about it without studying the matter any further.  Many of the allegations against both Ellen White and the Bible appear to have some validity to them at first glance.  Human logic and even common sense will conclude that there is indeed a mistake involved.  It is for this reason that this site was set up.  We realize that not everyone has time to study the allegations and we would not like anyone who either has no time, or who is new in the faith to be swayed by unsubstantiated accusations.  Our prayer (literally) is that the critics themselves will benefit from our research and ultimately reconsider their position.

2) The critic may have found an apparent discrepancy, but overlooked a vital statement that would have cleared it up.

A perfect example of this can be found in Allegation #21 in the "Over 50 Contradictions" list.  The issue in this allegation is whether Satan tempted Christ during the forty day fast in the wilderness or if he waited until the end of the forty days.  Here the critics quote Ellen White's statement that "Forty days He was tempted of Satan" among other similar passages.  They then quote Matthew 4:2,3 which says "After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.  The tempter came to him and said, 'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.'"

On the surface this does indeed appear to be a contradiction.  The problem lies in the fact that Ellen White was quoting from Luke 4:2,3 which says "Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread."

Here we see that the critics should have done a bit more research to see what the other gospel writers had to say about the event.  They even stated in conclusion: "Another example how E. G. White contradicts the Bible and confuses the mind. The Bible says nothing about Satan coming to tempt Jesus before his fast or tempting him for forty days, but after fasting forty days the tempter came to Jesus."

Now the question is, if the critics were trying to be deceptive would they have included in their list an argument which was not only clearly in error, but which could be checked out so easily?  It is doubtful that they would have set themselves up in such a manner.  It is more likely that they truly believed that Ellen White was wrong when she made the statement.  Thus, at least in this instance, the misguided allegation was the result of a lack of research and not malice.

At we try to be as thorough as possible in our research, but readily admit that in our answers we may also accidentally overlook a vital statement, and we would certainly not want to be accused of being deceptive.  We'd like to offer the same benefit of the doubt to the critics.  Our explanations may even have to be updated as more information comes in, so we certainly are in no position to judge others in this area.

Another example of what could be an honest mistake is the charge that Ellen White and Seventh-day Adventists teach that you are saved by your works since the law of God is still valid.  Neither Ellen White nor Seventh-day Adventists (nor Moses who brought the 10 Commandments from God to the Israelites) have ever taught any such thing.  This charge shows that the critic is simply mistaken about what the church believes on this point.  Not necessarily deceptive, but most certainly mistaken.  A misunderstanding about how grace and the law can co-exist in the gospel (and a misunderstanding of the definition of "grace") will often lead one to think that unless the law was nailed to the cross, believers are earning their salvation.  We know from experience that many who oppose our beliefs on this point are not being malicious or deceptive, but are sincerely convicted that the 10 Commandments must be associated with "works."

  1. 3) Basic, Christian honesty should rule out any deceptive practices. 

If the critic was simply swayed by another critic or incomplete research and truly believes he/she is correct, then we must assume that they are still concerned about the Christian principle of honesty in their dealings with other people.  This third reason should prevent any statements intentionally taken out of context from appearing on any critical web site.  In the case of the unintentional misquote, once the context has been revealed and the statement cleared up, the honest critic will see his/her error and will cease to promote the allegation.


If we can love those who disagree with us about Sabbath, state of the dead, or eschatology, then by God's grace we can continue to love those who disagree with us about the gift of prophecy in the church.  This does not mean, of course that we adopt a pluralistic system which says "what one believes doesn't really matter."  Such a scenario only leads to confusion which is what the word "Babylon" means.  There is definitely truth and there is error.  God is calling all of His people into the truth in these last days and we believe that He fulfilled Joel 2 once again by restoring the gift of prophecy to the church.  With Christ in our hearts we can and will continue to be loving to those who may tell us that we are wrong.  There is something wonderful about getting along with someone who doesn't agree with you theologically.  Besides, has anyone ever changed anyone else's mind by arguing with them (especially over religious matters)?  We don't think so.

Are there statements used by critics of Ellen White that are taken out of context?  Of course there are, and lots of them.  But were the critics necessarily trying to deceive or were they perhaps misinformed?  We cannot get into the mind of anyone else so we must not assume that intentional deception was practiced.  We pray that as the ongoing discussion about the validity of Ellen White continues the dialogue will be friendly and love toward one another will be found in our hearts.  This is the only way Jesus would have it.

                                                                                                                                                    — the Volunteers at

Go To: A Closer Look At "Ellen White Contradicts the Bible Over 50 Times"

Go To: A Closer Look At "Unfulfilled Predictions of Ellen White"

Go To: Was Ellen White Really a Plagiarist?

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