Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Theological Seminary


Religion, MA: Church History

First Advisor

P. Gerard Damsteegt


Problem Questions persist about the authority and role of the writings of Ellen White in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Since the church accepts her as a prophet, this study seeks to determine Ellen White's concepts involving the processes of revelation, inspiration and the usage of the phrase "spirit of prophecy." Her claims about the origin and authority of her writings then help to determine a more consistent usage for the spirit of prophecy. Method A descriptive systematic approach begins with computer CD-ROM word studies on Ellen White's concepts of revelation, inspiration and the phrase "spirit of prophecy." After determining these concepts, they serve as presuppositions for investigating her claims about the origin and resultant authority for her writings. Results Ellen White's basic concepts of revelation, inspiration and "spirit of prophecy" differ slightly from current definitions held by many Adventists. These answer almost every question that has come up about her writings. The origin and authority she claims for her writings are consistent with her presuppositions about the basic concepts. However, the authority claimed for Ellen White's work is more extensive than what is generally supposed. Several recommendations are made for adjusting the SDA Church position regarding her writings. Conclusion An internally consistent position about the writings of Ellen White is possible if her understanding about the revelation-inspiration process and the origin of the spirit of prophecy are considered. The authority of her writings in the church and the proper role for them in biblical interpretation should be determined in this light.

Subject Area

Inspiration--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists.

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