Revisioning the Role of EGW

Speaker: Categories: Jan 10, 1998


[58min, 58sec / 39min, 52sec]


God said it; I believe it; that's good enough for me!Some have probably heard the above statement uttered by persons wanting to terminate a discussion. Such an expression would probably refer to some portion of Scripture under discussion. But there are also those SDAs who would apply the same logic with equal conviction to the writings of Ellen G. White. And herein a problem has challenged church leaders and Bible scholars, the far right and the far left, clergy and laity alike for more than a century.

Whenever an inquiry or investigation into the life and work of the church's charismatic leader is suggested,red flagsgo up. If such inquiry or investigation is pursued, the researcher is almost automatically identified as suspect, someone whose faith is questionable, and whose commitment to the remnant church is obviously faltering.

But to ignore such investigations and their findings may be playing ostrich -- presuming that keeping ones head in the sand and remaininguninformed will cause the problem to go away.

The January San Diego Adventist Forum speaker has noted,"If a large amount of new information about its heritage comes to a religious movement within a short space of time, three reactions are likely to occur: reversion, rejection, and transformation."

He further affirms,"An unprecedented quantity of fresh data about thelifeandwritingsof Ellen White and thehistoryandthoughtof the Seventh -day Adventist Church emerged between 1970 and 1982. Present historical analyses suggest that reversionist, rejectionist, and transformationist stances developed during that period and persist in the present."

He then urges,"For the unity of Adventism and the coherent fulfillment of its mission, administrators, teachers, pastors, and laity need to maximize the potential of the transformationist stance."

What are these various stances, referred to by Dr. Patrick above? How are they identifiable? What are the outcomes of each? What are the origins of each? What stances appear to have been the most popular during the past three decades? What about today?


Arthur Patrick will complete his two-year visiting professorship at La Sierra University in June, 1998, and then return to Australia. His graduate studies include degrees earned at the University of New England, the University of Newcastle, and the SDA Theological Seminary. Dr. Patrick is the editor ofAdventist Heritage. His studies and his work experiences have given him special insights into Adventist history, especially the period to be discussed at the January Forum meeting. We appreciate the willingness of Dr. Patrick to share the paper he presented on November 21, 1997, in San Francisco at a meeting of the Adventist Society for Religious Studies and the Adventist Theological Society.

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