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Episode 9: Ellen in Real Life - Part 2

After Ellen White's death in 1915, the Seventh-day Adventist Church had to answer several questions about both its past and future.

Would there be a successor to Ellen White's "prophetic gift?" How did prophetic inspiration work? And was she inspired at all?

As the church wrestled with these questions, the world was also dealing with the existential aftermath of a World War I. This journey would bring

many interesting chapters - controversy over Ellen White's writings, a furious debate that split the church into factions, and even murder - that we're still living through, generations later.

This is Part 2.

Guests: Dwain Esmond and Michael Campbell

This mugshot and description of Margaret Rowan, whose story we detail in this episode.


Dive Deeper

"In 1919, the world was reeling from the destructive forces of World War I, American Protestants were uniting against Modernism in defense of the inerrancy of the Bible, and Adventists were recovering from the 1915 death of Ellen White, their beloved prophet.

Needing to confirm the movement’s identity in rapidly changing times, some 65 Adventist leaders, editors, and Bible teachers met from July 1 to August 9, 1919, in Columbia Hall on the campus of Washington Missionary College near Washington, D.C. Their discussions were candid and often heated, prompting A.G. Daniells to occasionally ask stenographers to stop their recording work. Minutes of the conference were buried in the archives and would eventually be rediscovered in 1974. Today, the Seventh–day Adventist Church continues to grapple with issues raised at this epochal event."

Book | Understanding Ellen White edited by Merlin D. Burt

"The Seventh-day Adventist Church has become a truly global movement with almost twenty million members from diverse cultures and backgrounds; many of whom are unfamiliar with the history of God’s leading and the prophetic ministry of Ellen White.

While it does not attempt to provide the final answer for every question, Understanding Ellen White builds a foundation for interpreting her experience with God and her ministry. Basic to any understanding of Ellen White is her own walk with God. Two golden threads weave throughout her life and experience and are central to who she was and what she accomplished: the love of God in Christ and a focus on Scripture. When these two principles are correctly understood and integrated in examining Ellen White’s life and experience, then all other issues addressed in this book are put in perspective.

Perhaps the saddest reality regarding Ellen White’s writings is that many dismiss them as irrelevant even before reading her work. A Kellogg’s Corn Flakes advertisement from several years ago is apropos when applied to Ellen White’s writings and ministry: whether you have lived with her writings your whole life or have never read her, the invitation is to “taste them again for the very first time.”

Ellen White with her husband, James, and two living sons, Willie and Edson. Circa 1864. Courtesy of the White Estate.

A painting of James and Ellen White. Courtesy of the Center for Adventist Research.


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