EGW: The Ongoing Saga

Speaker: Categories: Sep 14, 2002


[1hr, 19min, 4sec / 56min, 24sec]


For most Forum presentations a title for advertising the meeting seems to come rather naturally. However, when seeking just the right words to identify the September 14 topic, not one but several suggestions surfaced; suggestions which included:The Permissible LieandOrganized Religion: Fact or Fiction and 1845 - 2002: Ten Notable Episodes in Adventism, as well as the current titleEGW: the Continuing Saga.

Why such a variety? What, if anything, might these titles have in common? How could they all be appropriate for the September 14 meeting?

Perhaps the answer lies in the reality that the upcoming topic is complex, not simple. The intensive research done by Walter Rea has continued to reveal more and more involved factors, more and more involved individuals, more and more involved resolutions and approaches - none of which sought to resolve the inherent issues, but rather to continue the status quo of understanding within Adventism.

And, contrary to what might have been accepted in the recent past, the issues werenotfirst identified by Dr. Rea in research that led to the publishing ofThe White Lietwo decades ago. (That book, by the way, is still available on the web from!) The next Forum meeting will trace through a rather tangled array of events of note within this continuing saga associated with the role and writings of Ellen G. White within the SDA Church.

The special focus of the September meeting will be the book,The Great Controversy. Those attending this session are encouraged to bring with them their copy or copies, if more than one edition is available, and be prepared to make notes in the margins of the nearly 700 pages. In preparing for this September session, pre-scan through the GC text, noting the frequency source references are cited as footnotes at the bottom of the pages.

Why was this book selected from among the many attributed to Ellen White's authorship? Why choose this book which has been cited for generations as containing the very essence of Adventism's understanding of history, of the present, and of things to come. Why analyzethisbook which depicts so graphically the ongoing struggle between good and evil, between God and Satan?

Perhaps the cryptic answer is:SOURCES– not just plagiarism or borrowings; not just acceptable literary convention of the late 1800’s; not just well-intentioned but ill-informed secretarial assistants; not just minor oversights on the part of publishers and/or the White Estate.

Dr. Rea will show that entire intact paragraphs, complete with chapter titles and subheadings, were transferred from earliernon-SDA sources, and made part ofThe Great Controversy, with, at best, only meager citing of sources. Even more distressing, the words were often attributed to visions or to"I was shown"while having appeared first elsewhere.

Were these other sources equally God-inspired as EGW? Did these earlier authors also get their insights from visions? Were they, too,"shown"by God what to write?

How has organized religion, i.e., the SDA Church through its leadership, sought to address what was/is known about the sources reproduced with Ellen White as the namedoriginalauthor? Is concealing truth the same as telling a lie? Are some lies permissible -- if they are the lesser of two evils?


Walter T. Rea was ordained to ministry in 1949 in the Central California Conference after completing his BA at Pacific Union College. He pastored churches in the Central and Southern California Conferences as well as the Florida Conference. His further academic pursuits led to a second B.A., two M.A. degrees and a Ph.D. from universities in Southern California. Since retiring and relocating in Patterson, California, he has continued in a variety of leadership roles in his community. Heisa Seventh-day Adventist, a scholar, a seeker after truth!


Dr. Edmund Jones will respond to Dr. Rea's presentation, seeking to answer two questions: (1) Are the research data and conclusions presented by the speaker credible and (2) If so, what ought the church be doing about it? Ed Jones, Ph.D., is a retired SDA pastor having served 40 years in SDA employment in such roles as: Secretary-Treasurer, Alaska Conference; minister, Montana Conference; singing evangelist, Arizona Conference; and 26 years as pastor in Southern California Conference at the Hollywood and the Lancaster SDA churches.

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