Religion and Theology: Ellen White Writings
Ellen White is one of the most celebrated voluminous writers of all Seventh Day Adventist Church authors. In her writings, she held high scriptural views and used the holy book copiously in her three decade study to illuminate on how her writings support and inform the present church needs in Western cultures to address the hermeneutic concern of the bible (Knight 1997).
Hermeneutics can be defined as the art and science in which meaning is derived. In any study that pertains to theology, hermeneutics is a basic consideration used by prophetic writers. In his writing of ‘on the occasion’, Ellen white was is the search to apply hermeneutics principles in interpreting the writings of the Holy book.
Principles of Hermeneutics
A major Hermeneutic principle which is evident in White’s vision was hidden in her initiation of a healthy outlook. Before penning won her vision, it is evident that she began her study with a prayer that seeks for understanding and guidance. Just like the Holy Spirit spoke to prophets during biblical times, so does the spirit speak to present day prophets. The same Holy Spirit that acted as an inspiration is the only one who is able to unlock the true meaning of a vision (White 1944). This was the contextual meaning gathered from White’s writings of ‘on the occasion’. Secondly, in applying hermeneutics, we need to develop an open mind approach. In this context, we realize how most Christians are not free of bias become many of them do not approach Christian writings with open minds. We also realize that we are bias in our day to day lives but this should not mean that we should let the biasness control us. In her writing, biasness could be found in how White thought that the buildings she saw were basically designed to glorify the builders as well as their owners (Coon 1988). But in developing a free mind, White did not let this biasness drive her vision in which she later claims how these buildings were perfectly safe for humans to avoid destruction.
A healthy mind-set according to her reading is the basis of faith instead of doubt. In her writings, she clearly puts it how many Christians think that being unbelieving and quibble is a mark of righteousness and intelligence. I think God has not proposed to remove from us any doubtful occasion but instead He gives us the confidence and evidence we need to engage in a careful investigation of how He wants us to live. Another principle applied by White in his writings is the focus on the central issues as demanded by Theology (White 1940). In this nature, we learn from White writings that a Christian can be inspired in two ways; one way is from looking at central themes brought to light by the author and the other is searching for those things that are different and new in the author’s material. His works focuses on the central theme of the new light but to her we learn that such light could in the end be more like darkness through examination of central themes within the bible.
Application in the spiritual life
Most Christians are very much aware that White writings are an affirmation to the body of Christ as it is the church rule in practice and faith. White’s focus on biblical visions and foundations, White confirms how the ministry of Christians should focus on the ‘lesser light’ that would eventually lead to the ‘greater light’ (White 1985). In her perception and use of scriptures, we learn that at the onset of one’s Christian learn, it is important to have understanding of how to apply and employ the use of scriptures in understanding our realities in day to day life. In the history of the Christian church, we note that there were individuals who would place God instructions in extreme interpretations (Otto 1974). In White’s interpretations, we learn that we should always avoid dealing with extremes and biasness. As Christians in the 21st century, we should always avoid the readiness to be tangent or the readiness to always catch up with strange things but move like God in calm, considerable and proper choice of words for the purpose of harmony.
Coon, R. (1988). Ellen G. White’s Counsels Concerning the Eating of Cheese, unpublished manuscript, Ellen G. White Estate, 1988.
Knight, G. (1997). Reading Ellen White. Hagerstown, Maryland: Review and Herald Publishing Association, pp. 43-123.
Otto L. B. (1974). The Good Old Days-They Were Terrible! (New York: Random House, 1974), chapter 8, “Health,” pp. 135-154.
White, E. (1940). The Desire of Ages (Mountain View: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1940), p. 780
White, E. (1944) Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn, vol. 1, pp. 290-302.
White, E. (1985). Review and Herald. Reprinted in My Life Today Washington: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1952, p. 176.