Through this volume I, the secretary of the Ellen G. White Estate, pass to the readers my rather intimate knowledge of the operation of inspiration and the writing of the prophetic message as seen in the experience of Ellen G. White.
Some of this knowledge I gained from my father, William C. White, third son of James and Ellen G. White. I grew up in the environment of these things and worked with W. C. White in the Elmshaven office of the White Estate for nine years.
Most of what is presented here stems from a knowledge acquired in handling the Ellen G. White documents over a period of four decades.
This volume consists of five formal presentations made to groups of university and college teachers, administrators, and forum groups. The topics were assigned. The rather heavily documented papers were built upon the Ellen G. White documents themselves and the witness of Ellen G. White's contemporaries. Little reference is made to the works of scholars and theologians in the field of inspiration in general, for it was my intent to present the picture as I have seen it, working closely with the materials as found in the White Estate office records.
Seventh-day Adventist ministers and teachers who were acquainted with these presentations urged their publication in order that they may serve in a much broader way than in oral rendering and in duplicated copies. An examination of the five papers as they were being prepared for publication revealed some overlapping. Repetition has been largely eliminated. Cross references are introduced to direct the reader to related materials as they appear here and there through the combined presentations. Some repetition, which if omitted would have marred the development of the topic presented, remains. Some additions have been made to round out and strengthen certain areas. Some sentences and phrases to which particular attention is directed appear in italics to emphasize the point I wish the reader especially to note.
To say even after these many years that I understand all phases of Ellen G. White's experience and work would be to boast. To say that I have found answers to every question that may have arisen in my mind in the forty and more years I have been connected with this work would be to go beyond the facts. I have ever recognized that with our limited experience and with the possible absence of a knowledge of facts because documents were not available that would have presented the full story, not to speak of our shortsightedness, we dare not measure and pass judgment on the work clearly motivated by the Holy Spirit. All of this notwithstanding, I have found the weight of evidence so great that, not only can I not doubt, but I hold with the strongest confidence that Ellen G. White was what she claimed to bethe messenger of the Lord. She was indeed a true prophet of God. I am quite willing to hold suspended judgment on a few points until I find an answer here, and if not here, then when I meet and talk with Ellen White and our Saviour in the world made new.
My observation is that those who lived and worked most
closely with Ellen G. White had the strongest confidence in her call and work. This is my experience as I move in the closest contact with her documentsthe letters, diaries, manuscripts, and published records. To these may be added the published and unpublished witness of her contemporaries.
That the observations presented here, which have been made in such close contact with the materials themselves and with William C. White, who traveled and worked with his mother for more than thirty years, may serve the church in keeping before it a factual image of the work of Ellen G. White is my intent and sincere wish.
Arthur L. White
March 1, 1973