The Life and Times of Ellen White: Fact and Faith in the First Scholarly Introduction to the Adventist Prophet?

Speaker: Categories: Nov 14, 2009


[1hr, 1min, 44sec / 50min, 46sec]


The November presenter states that"Ellen White: American Prophet"is a"working conference"slated for Portland, Maine, October 22-25, 2009, with 21 chapter authors and 42 respondents invited. Each draft chapter will be assessed by an Adventist and a non-Adventist respondent; the ensuing group discussion (each participant will have a microphone) is intended to hone the scripts for editing by Gary Land of Andrews University and presentation to a major publisher. The 21 chapters will aim to interpret Ellen White's life and writings within their historical, cultural, and religious contexts. The chapter written by the Forum speaker is on Ellen White as an author. (See

The November presentation to the San Diego Adventist Forum will be the third by Arthur Patrick."Revisioning the Role of Ellen White for Seventh-day Adventists Beyond 2000"was presented at the Adventist Society for Religious Studies Annual Meeting in San Francisco, November, 1997, and repeated for the San Diego Forum, January, 1998 (See the report by James Stirling,Adventist Today, March-April 1998, 19-21). The second presentation in July, 2003, was entitled"Continuity and Change in Seventh-day Adventist Doctrine and Practice,"seeAdventist Today, September-October, 2003, 16-17. Both scripts were placed on (1998, 2003). Since then, Patrick has received valuable critiques from many parts of the world.

Patrick expects his November 14 Forum presentation to transpose his discussion of Ellen White into a new key - because the"working conference"aims to prepare the first scholarly introduction to Ellen White's life and writings. Patrick plans to assess the conference as an historical event coming thirty-nine years after 1970, when"Adventist scholars began for the first time to examine"Ellen White's writings critically and"to share their conclusions with the community of Adventist intellectuals,"according to Donald R. McAdams (Spectrum, March 1980,27).

The title of Patrick's presentation is as announced in several newsletters:"The Life and Times of Ellen White: Fact and Faith in the First Scholarly Introduction to the Adventist Prophet."So that Forum attendees may be aware of the recent discussions relating to Ellen White, Patrick has prepared a paper that he regards as a backdrop for his November 14 presentation, entitled"The Re-parenting of Seventh-day Adventists: Reflections on the Historical Development, Substance, and Potential of Ellen White Studies."Those who wish to do so may read this"backdrop"before November 14, on Internet sites sponsored by Adventist Today (in the United States) and Avondale College (in Australia).


Arthur Patrick is a third-generation Australian Adventist whose maternal grandparents and paternal grandmother were, for several years, Ellen White's neighbors in Cooranbong during the founding years of Avondale College. Patrick graduated twice from Avondale College (Diploma of Theology and Teaching, 1956: BA (Theology), 1957); twice from the SDA Theological Seminary, Andrews University (MA, Systematic Theology; MDiv), before he earned a Doctor of Ministry (Biblical Studies, 1973) from Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis. Later, a thesis on Ellen White and gender issues earned him an MLitt degree from the University of New England, Armidale (1984).

His PhD thesis, completed at the University of Newcastle (1992), sought to locate Ellen White within the religious culture of her years in Colonial Australia (1891-1900). Patrick's service for the church (1958-1998) embraced pastoral ministry (New Zealand, United States, Australia); teaching (Andrews university, Avondale College, La Sierra University), academic administration (Avondale College), and chaplaincy (Sydney Adventist Hospital). While director of the Ellen G. White G. SDA Research Centre serving Australasia (1976-1983), Patrick laid the foundations for the research that undergirds his writings about Ellen White in the context of Adventist Studies, a process that has continued since his official retirement from La Sierra University (1998). Since 2006, when Avondale College was accredited to offer doctoral studies in a range of disciplines, Patrick has fostered the development of Adventist Studies as a PhD option.

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