Guest Post: Why I Gave Away My Entire Library of Ellen White Books

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Until recently, I possessed a fairly extensive library of books, the majority being classic Adventist books written by Ellen White. Among that prized collection was a flawless set of the Testimonies donated to me in, 2007.  When I was in college, I read the entire Spirit of Prophecy  books including the manuscript releases on my computer while waiting for opponents to move on chess games and listening to music on Napster!   Since that time, I think I have read most of her books at least 5 or 6 times and have been blessed by new insights each time I’ve read them.
God has blessed me with very good recall abilities.  I can remember whole passages from the Spirit of Prophecy and I also remember what position the quotation or passage is on the page in the book.  This allows me to quickly find the appropriate quotation and use it in a discussion.  This wonderful skill has some definite drawbacks as well.
I’ve noticed in my discussions with people of other faiths (especially Christians) my mind brings up quotations of the Spirit of Prophecy faster than it does the Bible.  I find myself arguing from an Adventist position rather than from the Bible.
Let me pause here to explain what I mean.
Some of you might wonder, isn’t being biblical distinctly adventist? Yes, and no.  Every ‘faith community’ has its own frame of reference.  For example, when discussing the heavenly sanctuary in Hebrews, I remember Hiram Edison’s view of Christ in the Sanctuary in heaven. Or when talking about the antediluvians I cannot but help remember passages about Enoch’s life that are very dear to me but are not in the Bible.  I find that my reading of the Spirit of Prophecy sometimes becomes a convenient crutch for me.  Worse, my evangelical friends are unable to understand my line of reasoning because it is intermixed with the Spirit of Prophecy.  Now some hardliners among us will insist that I should introduce Ellen White to my friends so that they can see ‘light’ and understand the Bible more fully.  I firmly believe that we sometimes (at least me for sure) forget that Mrs. White is the lesser light and the Bible is the Greater Light.  The Bible informs us of God’s Supreme Will and His workings on our behalf.  Mrs. White always pointed to the Bible.  Later in her life she deplored the use of her writings when discussing Biblical points of view.  I resolved to rid myself of this self-made crutch and rely on the Bible alone for my knowledge of God.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Mrs. White’s writings.  When I compare her work to the Bible, I find her emphasis, and use of the Bible, to not only be masterful but inspired. I still hold them in the highest regard and believe everything written in them.  But my reliance should always be on the Word of God in times of need.  My existence should depend solely on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
So I gave away my entire Spirit of Prophecy collection to a friend.
Since then I’ve read the Bible by itself.
One of the things, I resolved to take up after chemotherapy was learning how to write clearly.  I am painfully aware that my writing is not as precise and clear as it should be. I enjoy reading the Bible all the more now, because I can see the literary resonance of the passages.  I have newfound appreciation for the rhythm in biblical sentences such as these:
And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal (1 Sam. 15:33). 
But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. Amos 5:8
And he shall judge between the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. Is. 2:4
I find my reasoning has become sharper.  I have resolved to memorize the entire New Testament in the next three years using trained memory techniques that I’ve used to great success in college and business. I hope someday to memorize the entire Bible like Pastor Randy Skeete.  I dream of being able to effortlessly recall text upon text and understand the context of whole passages in the Old Testament and their proper bearing in the New.
Now, when I discuss biblical topics with my evangelical friends, I find myself arguing from the text rather than from Adventist tradition and in the highest sense I know that I’m fulfilling our high calling to be people of the Book.

- This post was originally written by Adrian Zahid on his website www.adrianzahid.com
Guest Post: Why I Gave Away My Entire Library of Ellen White Books Guest Post: Why I Gave Away My Entire Library of Ellen White Books Reviewed by Pastor Marcos on December 05, 2013 Rating: 5

6 comments

  1. It seems to me that you threw out too much. I understand that you may have used Ellen White too much, but to tell everyone that you got her completely out of her reading life,gave her books away, read only the Bible, and got sharper because of it, is a poor testimony. You SAY that you love Ellen White, but you actions speak otherwise. It is unwise to lead others away from her writings.

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  2. Hi Shari. I Didnt Actually Write This Article. It Was Written By Adrian Zahid On His Site Linked Above. If You Want To Discuss It I Recommend You Leave A Comment On His Page. Nevertheless, I Think You Are Interpreting His Point As More Extreme Than He Himself Is Comfortable with. He Is Not Suggesting That Egw Is Unimportant. He Is Simply Saying That She Is Less Important Than Scripture.

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  4. I beg to differ. He is not simply saying that Mrs. white is less important than scripture. When he makes comments like,"I resolved to rid myself of this self-made crutch and rely on the Bible alone for my knowledge of God," So I gave away my entire Spirit of Prophecy collection to a friend. Since then I’ve read the Bible by itself." And, " I find my reasoning has become sharper." He is most certainly not giving a testimony for her writings. Would you read a book after that kind of recommendation? According to his own testimony, I do not believe that I have interpreted his point more extreme than he meant it. He made his points very clear. I put this comment on your site because you are the one who chose it and put it up, and it was your site I was reading, not his.

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  5. I see what you mean Shari. Again, since I did not write the article I cannot defend the intentions of its author but I can defend my intentions in sharing it. Adrians context needs to be considered here. He had built his faith on EGW and knew more of her writings than he did the Bible. As a result, her writings became a crutch to his Bible study. I have seen this myself. I was once a part of a bible study class where we took lessons home to complete and discuss the following sabbath. some people, rather than studying the bible and sharing what they discovered in class the next week would simply copy and paste what EGW had to say about the text and read it in class. This is a crutch. The testimonies were not given to make us lazy in Bible study but to lead us to the Bible. Since Adrian had become so dependent on EGW he felt the need to get rid of all of her books so he could focus on the Bible instead. I think EGW would applaud his decision and so do I. Adrian is not saying everyone should do this but is sharing a personal testimony of how making the Bible number 1 proved to be a blessing in his life. I dont use EGW as a crutch so there is no need for me to make the same decision he made. but those whose faith is built upon EGW instead of the bible would do well to follow his example. I like the way she put it best to the GC delegates who were clamoring to have her resolve scriptural issues. She rebuked them saying "Lay Sister White to one side. Do not quote my words again as long as you live until you can obey the Bible.... When you make the Bible your food, your meat, and your drink, when you make its principles the elements of your character, you will know better how to receive counsel from God. I exalt the precious word before you today. Do not repeat what I have said, saying, “Sister White said this,” and “Sister White said that.” Find out what the Lord God of Israel says, and then do what He commands."—Manuscript 43, 1901. (From an address to church leaders the night before the opening of the General Conference session of 1901.) {3SM 33.1} That is ultimately what Adrians blog is about. But again, if you want to discuss it further you will have to comment on his page.

    Blessings!

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  6. So true...EW would be very happy if all Adventists threw her work away. She herself insists that the Bible is to be our only guide. No one, and I mean no one will ever have to give an account for not reading anything written by EW but to not read the Word...quite a different story. I believe one can wade through and "proof text" her writings to fit the Bible, but it soooooo muddies the waters. Stick with the pure, plain reading of the Bible. Your spiritual faculties will most definitely become sharper and your level of intimacy with the Savior will increase exponentially.

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