Ellen G White – Refuted


Below is the first post that I put together on Ellen White.  It is more of an overview of the reasons I rejected her as a false prophet when I was coming out of Adventism.  For the benefit of others I will keep it as is.  Since then I have compiled more comprehensive studies HERE.

I was never an avid EGW reader while I was SDA.  I knew a few handy EGW quotes and was familiar with the Church apologetics surrounding her.  If someone around me ever accused EGW of being a false prophet I usually knew what to say to stick up for her.

There are a range of SDA beliefs on Ellen G White. Some believe that she was a prophet in every sense that Isaiah or Jeremiah were and that every word she ever wrote was inspired by God.  Others will say that they believe her books were inspired but nothing else.  While still others only believe some of her writings were inspired but wont identify which.  Lastly, there are a few Adventists who don’t believe she is anything more than an author in a troubling time, that said they will not call her a false prophet.  I have met no current SDA who is willing to use those words on her.

The Bible says that we are to test prophets and prophecy.  The most objective means that we have to test a prophet is what the Bible has given us here:

 “And you may say in your heart, “How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?” When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” Deut 18:21-22 ESV

I think that this should be the verse that we use to test a prophet, its fair and objective. However, there are some that will assert that “when EGW was correct she was inspired and when she was incorrect it was just her own opinion”.  That is a fascinating assertion in and of itself and never one that I held, but lets look at what EGW said about her own inspiration so that we have a baseline.

“I wrote many pages to be read at your camp meeting. Weak and trembling, I arose at three o’clock in the morning to write you. God was speaking through clay. You might say that this communication was only a letter. Yes, It was a letter, but prompted by the Spirit of God, to bring before your minds things that had been shown me. In these letters which I write, in the testimonies I bear, I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me. I do not write one article in the paper, expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God has opened before me in vision-the precious rays of light shining from the throne.” (EGW, Selected Messages, bk. l, p. 27.)

It is therefore clear from her own pen that she taught all of her writings to be inspired. Logically that means I can test anything that she wrote down. This is a really big deal, as I remember many SDA would usually defend her by stating only the books were inspired but not her letters, this is because it is well known even in SDA that she contradicts herself many times in her letters.

That said, there are many failed prophecies that she wrote and many false teachings, however I am simply going to focus on the ones that convinced me personally that she was a false prophet.

She Prophesied that Old Jerusalem would never be built up

“I was pointed to some who are in the great error of believing that it is their duty to go to Old Jerusalem, and think they have a work to do there before the Lord comes. . . . I saw that Satan had greatly deceived some in this thing. . . . I also saw that Old Jerusalem never would bebuilt up; and that Satan was doing his utmost to lead the minds of the children of the Lord into these things now, in the gathering time.” Early Writings, p. 75

Here is a picture of modern Jerusalem today in case you were not aware that it has been rebuilt:


She Prophesied that the Door to Salvation and grace had been shut in 1844

For those of you who have never heard about the “Shut Door” vision please allow me to explain. It was the belief of the Millerites that Jesus Christ would return to Earth in 1844.  When this didn’t happen Ellen White had a vision where she was told that though the Second Coming had not transpired, the Door to Mercy and grace had been shut in 1844.  She was also told that the Second Coming would quickly follow.  However, as the years passed this vision became a point of embarrassment.    Ellen White even started flat out denying that she ever had such a vision and accused people of misquoting her.  When you read SDA apologetics those are the letters they will quote.

Below is a quote of a letter that she wrote in 1845, before the belief was unpopular, where EGW is clear about her position on the issue:

“At the time I had the vision of the midnight cry I had given it up in the past and thought it future, as also most of the band had. . . . After I had the vision and God gave me light, he bade me deliver it to the band, but I shrank from it. I was young, and I thought they would not receive it from me. . . . The view about the Bridegroom’s coming I had about the middle of February, 1845, while in Exeter, Maine, in meeting with Israel Dammon, James, and many others. Many of them did not believe in a shut door. I suffered much at the commencement of the meeting. Unbelief seemed to be on every hand. . . . The Lord worked in mighty power, setting the truth home to their hearts. . . . Most of them received the vision, and were settled upon the shut doorLetter B-3, 1847: Letter to Joseph Bates, July 13, 1847, White Estate.

The above prophecy is especially troubling because if true that would imply that all Christians today cannot be saved because the door to mercy and grace has been shut for ~160 years.

If you want to read more about the shut door prophecy please click HERE. There you will find copies of the original letters in her handwriting.  They can also explain more about this sorted issue if you desire to conduct further research on your own.

Disregarding the glaring Galatians 1:8 violation for just a brief moment, what we have here is a clear failed prophecy, there is no way to save this one. It wasn’t provisional at all, and it’s most telling that SDA apologists prefer to ignore it altogether.

Teachings on Geology and Volcanoes

“At this time immense forests were buried. These have since been changed to coal, forming the extensive coal beds that now exist, and also yielding large quantities of oil. The coal and oil frequently ignite and burn beneath the surface of the earth. Thus rocks are heated, limestone is burned, and iron ore melted. The action of the water upon the lime adds fury to the intense heat, and causes earthquakes, volcanoes, and fiery issues. As the fire and water come in contact with ledges of rock and ore, there are heavy explosions underground, which sound like muffled thunder. The air is hot and suffocating. Volcanic eruptions follow; and these often failing to give sufficient vent to the heated elements, the earth itself is convulsed, the ground heaves and swells like the waves of the sea, great fissures appear, and sometimes cities, villages, and burning mountains are swallowed up.” Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 108-109

I am not a geologist, my entire education on such matters derives completely from a class I took in high school back in 2002.  But I seem to recall that volcanoes are due Lava rising to the surface of the Earth.  Ellen seems to think that the Lava is caused by coal mixing with oil and causing “fiery issues”.  Take this in conjunction with the fact that Ellen declared all of her writings to be inspired rays of light from the throne and you can see that SDA have a sticky situation here.

Amalgamation of Man and Beast

“But if there was one sin above another which called for the destruction of the race by the flood, it was the base crime of amalgamation of man and beast which defaced the image of God, and caused confusion everywhere.” Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 3, p. 64.

“Every species of animal which God had created were preserved in the ark. The confused species which God did not create, which were the result of amalgamation, were destroyed by the flood. Since the flood, there has been amalgamation of man and beast, as may be seen in the almost endless varieties of species of animals, and in certain races of men.” Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 4, p. 75.

When I mention the above to SDA today they generally are all over the map on what they think Ellen White meant by amalgamation of man and beast.  The problem is, SDA in her day interpreted this as the origination non-white races.  There is record of this in writing, Uriah Smith even attributed the amalgamation as explaining the existence of primitive races discovered in his day.  The fact is, Ellen White never corrected that racist interpretation of her words.  You be the judge.

Invasion of England

In 1862 she predicted that England would declare war on the North during the civil war:

“when England does declare war, all nations will have an interest of their own to serve, and there will be general war, general confusion.” The result will be that “this nation [the United States] will . . . be humbled into the dust.” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, p. 259

This simply never happened.  SDA I have brought this up with will tell me that I need to replace the word “when” with “if” at the beginning of the above passage.  That is seriously their argument, the problem is that Ellen White didn’t use the word “if”, she used the word “when”.  I simply refuse to read otherwise, a prophets prediction fails or succeeds on its on merits.

Partial Atonement

Ellen White says

“It was seen, also, that while the sin offering pointed to Christ as a sacrifice, and the high priest represented Christ as a mediator, the scapegoat typified Satan, the author of sin, upon whom thesins of the truly penitent will finally be placed.” The Great Controversy, p. 422.

“As the priest, in removing the sins from the sanctuary, confessed them upon the head of the scapegoat, so Christ will place all these sins uponSatan, the originator and instigator of sin.” TheGreat Controversy, p. 485.

“Their sins are transferred to the originator of sin.” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 475.

The Bible Says


. . . and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed 1 Peter 2:24 ESV

The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!John 1:29 ESV

The Seal of God

Ellen White Says

“The sign, or seal, of God is revealed in the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, the Lord’s memorial of creation.” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8, p. 117.

“Too late they see that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the seal of the living God.” TheGreat Controversy, p. 640.

“The seal of the living God is placed upon those who conscientiously keep the Sabbath of the Lord.” 7A Bible Commentary, p. 980.


The Bible Says

“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation –having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.” Eph 1:13 ESV

“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Eph 4:30 ESV

“Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” 2 Cor 1:21-22 ESV

The Deity of Christ

Below Ellen White teaches that Jesus Christ was a created being, made by the Father.

“The Eternal Father, the unchangeable one, gave his only begotten Son, tore from his bosom Him who was made in the express image of his person, and sent him down to earth to reveal how greatly he loved mankind.” EGW, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, 07-09-1895, “The Duty of the Minister and the People,” Par. 14.

In addition to that Ellen White taught that Jesus Christ was exalted to equality with the Father at some time after the creation of angels but before the creation of the world.

“The exaltation of the Son of God as equal with the Father was represented as an injustice to Lucifer, who, it was claimed, was also entitled to reverence and honor.” EGW, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 37

She even goes so far as to speak of a meeting in which Christ was exalted in his pre-incarnate state with angels present as witnesses.  For a full breakdown of this heresy in context please click HERE.


What bothers me with this is less the issue of plagiarism and more the issue of credibility.  Many times she would say “I was shown….” and then quote a author of her day.  The implication being that an angel had shown her something either in vision or plenary inspiration.  To me that is unacceptable, we don’t see Paul credit his quotes of the Septuagint to an angelic dictation.   I can only assume that she believed she could get away with lying about being a prophet.

“Parents are also under obligation to teach and oblige their children to conform to physical law for their own sakes. . . . How strange and unaccountable that mothers should love their children so tenderly as to indulge them in what they have occasion to know may injure their constitutions and impair their happiness for life. May many children be delivered from such mothers, and from such cruel kindness! . . . The managers and teachers of schools . . .” Philosophy of Health: Natural Principles of Health and Cure, by L. B. Coles (Boston: William D. Ticknor & Company. 1849, 1851, 1853, pp. 144-145):

“I was shown that one great cause of the existing deplorable state of things is that parents do not feel under obligation to bring up their children to conform to physical law. Mothers love their children with an idolatrous love and indulge their appetite when they know that it will injure their health and thereby bring upon them disease and unhappiness. . . . They have sinned against Heaven and against their children, and God will hold them accountable. . . . The managers and teachers of schools . . . Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, p. 141, 1872.

Ellen Whites Eats Oysters after the health message

Keep in mind the health message was alleged to have been received by vision in the year 1863.  To keep things fair evidence of her eating meat before that date would be off limits, but I have no problem pointing out contradictions of her doing so after 1863.

“Mary, if you can get me agood box of herrings, fresh ones, please do so. These last ones that Willie got are bitter and old. If you can buy cans, say, half a dozen cans, of good tomatoes, please do so. We shall need them. If you can get a few cans of good oysters, get them.” —Letter 16, 1882

“I do not preach one thing and practice another. I do not present to my hearers rules of life for them to follow while I make an exception in my own case….” —Selected Messages Book 2, p. 302. Letter 12, 1888.

This rabbit hole of Ellen White and meat eating actually goes a fair bit deeper, if you want more information please click HERE.

Ellen Whites Warning

One final note from Ellen G White, after this I only ask that you make up your own mind about where her visions came from.

“God is either teaching His church, reproving their wrongs and strengthening their faith, or He is not. This work is of God, or it is not. God does nothing in partnership with Satan. My work . . . bears the stamp of God or the stamp of the enemy. There is no half-way work in the matter. The testimonies are of the Spirit of God or of the Devil.” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 4, p. 230.

“If the testimonies speak not according to this word of God, reject them. Christ and Belial cannot be united.” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 691.

About ACTheologian

I am a layman who blogs my Biblical studies. Enjoy, please read with an open Bible and do double check with your pastor.
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6 Responses to Ellen G White – Refuted

  1. chris says:

    I heard various teachings from SDA’s about the prophecy in the book Isaiah, about Nabukadineza{such kind of name} and the interpretation the dream{statue}.


  2. chris says:

    I heard various teachings from SDA’s about the prophecy in the book Isaiah, about Nabukadineza{such kind of name} and the interpretation the dream{statue}.do have any view about it


    • nursingninja says:

      I’m not super dogmatic on eschatology. I think it’s fun to study but I try not to take positions on it that forces a systematic theological framework from which to interpret other texts in any given way. This is because eschatological passages are by their nature unclear. And we are to interpret unclear texts with clear ones.

      That’s not what you asked though.

      In my opinion the stone not made by human hands that destroys the statue is Christ. More specifically his church. It’s a kingdom that arrives after Rome and fills the whole earth and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her.


  3. Kelly Otieno says:

    The true prophets are the major and minor ones published in the Bible…a part from that, trust none’s writings and prophecies for what matters is that Christ died for us and repentance of sin is the way to Salvation


    • nursingninja says:



    • nursingninja says:

      One of these days I plan on making a post on cessationism. I wouldn’t do it any justice if I tried now though. If you want to look into it yourself though I would recommend starting by listening to a lecture by Phil Johnson on this topic here: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GraceLife/~5/I_TQ_JJcK-k/417151222372.mp3

      I found that very helpful. When I first wrote this post on Ellen White I was unaware of the teaching on cessationism. So I tested her by the means given in scripture to test prophets and she failed quite miserably.

      Since then I have found the teaching of Cessationism quite comforting to be honest. I don’t have to fear any self proclaimed prophets and their witchcraft, or spend all my time testing them as I did Ellen. Just walk by faith in the Word.


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