Posts tagged Ellen Whites letter to her sister Elizabeth
Ellen White's Clearest and Most Concise Explanation of the Gospel
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Courtesy of the Ellen G. White Estate, Inc
I have, in the past, shared a variety of Ellen White quotes regarding her understanding of the gospel. Because her writings are often misused by legalists and often misquoted by both supporters and critics many have come to view her as "the scary lady of Adventism" - a Victorian prude who had an unhealthy obsession with rules. However, when one reads her broadly instead of selectively it becomes rapidly clear that she was a balanced, Christ centered, average human being whose only desire was to lift Jesus up in her life and ministry. As a Seventh-day Adventist I find it heart breaking that many of my fellow believers have successfully managed to turn a fun-loving, kindhearted, Jesus lover into what many people today consider the most legalistic protestant religious thinker to have ever lived. I guess this is why I have, on older blog posts, attempted to paint an accurate picture of Ellen White by sharing her views on the gospel. I do this, not in order to defend her against her critics but in order to defend her, in many instances, from her most zealous supporters (of which I am among). I have found that it is us, not the critics, who have done the greatest harm in this respect. So as can be imagined, I am always excited to discover Ellen White statements that help form that balanced picture that many of us have so effectively maligned.

Which brings me to the reason why I am writing this blog post in the first place. I had the privilege today of listening to Seventh-day Adventist pastor Dwight Nelson do a series of presentations on Ellen White. Toward the end of one of his presentations, pastor Nelson read an unpublished letter that Ellen White wrote to her sister Elizabeth just before she died. The letter was so breath taking that I had to listen to it twice and then share it with my wife when I got home. Each time I heard it I had to hold back the tears that wanted to flow. This personal letter from Ellen to Elizabeth constitutes what I consider to be the clearest and most concise explanation of the Gospel I have come across in any of her writings. Knowing that time was short, Ellen White wrote this letter as an appeal for her sister to accept Christ into her life. It reads:
I love to speak of Jesus Lizzy, and His matchless love. My whole soul is in this work. I have not one doubt of the love of God and His care and His mercy and His ability to save to the utmost all who come to Him. Don't you believe in Jesus Lizzy? Do you not believe He is your savior? That He has evidenced His love for you in giving His own precious life that you might be saved? Oh, I pray most earnestly that the Lord Jesus shall reveal Himself to you and Reuben [her husband]. Dear sister, it's no wonderful thing that you have to do. There is one Lizzy, who died that you might live through eternal ages. Just believe that Jesus will hear your confession, receive your repentance, and He will forgive every sin and make you and Reuben children of God. Oh, I long to take you in my arms and lay you on the bosom of Jesus Christ. With Jesus as your blessed friend Lizzy, you need not fear to die, for it will be to you like closing your eyes here and opening them in heaven. Then we shall meet never more to part.*
Wow. That's all I can say as I read this amazing letter. She never brings up the Sabbath. She never brings up vegetarianism. She never mentions the Adventist church or even demands that Lizzy believe she is a prophet. She does none of it. Instead, Ellen White says, "it's no wonderful thing that you have to do..... Just believe." I don't know about you but that doesn't sound like a legalist to me. I truly, truly pray that those of us who value and embrace the prophetic ministry of Ellen White would be faithful to present her as she really was - a Christ centered, grace focused, God loving woman who ever lived to share Jesus with the world.

Further Reading:

Troubling Statements of Ellen White

The SDA Gospel Is Legalistic - Isn't It?

Ellen G. White on Legalism

* Since this letter is unpublished at the time of writing I cannot reference it. However, if you would like to hear the letter as I heard it in pastors Dwight's presentation click here and skip forward in the presentation to 36:20. If you would like to inquire as to the letter itself you can contact the Ellen White Estate here.