What was Ellen G. White’s view of research? This is a relevant question for Adventist education as a whole, and for Adventist students and teachers engaged in research in all areas of study. In nearly every discipline, research extends the frontiers of knowledge. Teachers are expected to be familiar with research methods and approaches, while students are to conduct research, often as an academic requirement. Accordingly, Seventh-day Adventist schools at various levels have incorporated research competencies as integral components of instructional programs and as requirements for continuous appointment or advancement in rank for tertiary professors.
At the same time, the Adventist educational system operates within a distinctive framework, one that maintains that biblical truth is central to the pursuit of knowledge and that espouses a special relationship to the writings of Ellen G. White. These writing delineate a paradigm for Adventist education, described in such works as Education and Fundamentals of Christian Education, among others.
In Ellen White’s writings, we encounter repeated references to research—in all, 319 instances of the word research or its derivatives.1 Of these, 123 are textually distinct statements, of which 92 are conceptually unique.2 As one examines these references, certain statements by Ellen White may appear to be contradictory, at least at first glance. To illustrate, the following statements seem to place research in a negative light:
- “To many, scientific research has become a curse.”3
- “Scientific research in which God is not acknowledged [is] making skeptics of thousands.”4
- “Very little of the study and research which is so wearying to the mind furnishes anything that will make one a successful laborer for souls.”5
On the other hand, there are also statements that clearly favor research, such as these:
- “In order to understand the truth of God, there is need of deep research.”6
- “The word of God must be studied, and this requires thought and prayerful research.”7
- “Scientific research opens to the mind vast fields of thought and information, enabling us to see God in His created works.”8
Such statements create a dilemma. While one could simply reject one view and embrace the other, a better approach may be to integrate these statements into a more comprehensive understanding, taking into consideration source and context. It is this approach that we will endeavor to develop, particularly regarding the role of research in the purpose and practice of Adventist education.
Use of the Term Research
Of the 92 conceptually unique statements in the writings of Ellen White that address research, 58 are positive while 21 could be categorized as negative references, with the remainder being neutral. Thus, Ellen White referred favorably to research nearly three times as frequently as she warned about it. Many, although not all, of the negative quotations dealt with certain approaches in scientific or literary research. On the other hand, many of the positive references focus on biblical research, although favorable statements describe other types of research, as well.
In . . . personal letters, Ellen White counseled individuals regarding research. In 1879, she encouraged her son Edson to study the Bible deeply, advising that his ability to understand the Scriptures would be limited by a lack of biblical research.
In Ellen White’s writings, certain phrases paralleled the term research. These included expressions such as: “painstaking effort,” “persevering inquiry,” “vigorous thought,” “earnest study,” “fervent prayer,” and “patient reflection.” The word research itself was often accompanied by modifiers such as: deep, careful, extensive, vigorous, and honest.
Individuals Involved in Research
Ellen White associated biblical persons with research. She noted that Adam was to develop his mental faculties through research of “the mysteries of the visible universe.”9 Solomon also engaged in diligent research, focusing primarily on the natural world. From this study, Solomon’s knowledge and love for God increased.10 Nevertheless, a flaw arose in Solomon’s approach as he began to cultivate a sense of superiority and self-importance.11 When Solomon finally recognized his condition, he assessed the results of this research as “altogether vanity.”12
In the New Testament, Christ admonished a lawyer to engage in “clearer and more critical research” in order to discover truth.13 The disciple Peter was reproved for not researching his own heart and, in consequence, denying his Master.14 Writing to the Corinthian believers, Paul declared that he had fed them with milk rather than solid spiritual food (1 Corinthians 3:2). Ellen White noted that these believers “were living on a low level, dwelling on the surface truth which call for . . . no deep research.”15
After the Great Disappointment in 1844, Adventist pioneers carefully reviewed the assumptions and conclusions of their prophetic research to uncover any errors of interpretation.16 Ellen White stated that through this same careful inquiry, early Adventists derived the doctrines they held as truths, and thus the beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church were established with clarity and harmony.17
In two personal letters, Ellen White counseled individuals regarding research. In 1879, she encouraged her son Edson to study the Bible deeply, advising that his ability to understand the Scriptures would be limited by a lack of biblical research.18 In 1904, confronting the heresy of pantheism promoted by Dr. John H. Kellogg, the denomination’s leading health reformer, she wrote, “Your putting your mind to research of science is dangerous business, and there is not any warning too strong to be given to withhold you from this field you have entered. I tell you the truth, that if you keep on in the course you have been pursuing for years in research in so-called science, you will lose your soul.”19
Overall, in each instance in which Ellen White associated individuals with research, save for two—Solomon and Kellogg, the context is positive. Yet even in the negative cases, Ellen White noted that the result of research could be constructive if properly focused and conducted. Writing to Kellogg regarding his pantheistic views, for example, she stated: “Let your scientific researches be turned into a wholesome channel.”20
Many of Ellen White’s most positive statements occur in the context of biblical research.
Importance. The Bible was given, Ellen White asserted, that it might be researched, with deep study of Scripture being required to attain an understanding of God’s truth.21 Neglecting biblical research would come “at the peril of our souls.”22
Ellen White also warned that it was not enough to rely on the thoughts and discoveries of others, trusting in their interpretation of God’s Word. Each must investigate for himself or herself.23 She described “a most wonderful laziness” wherein some were willing that “others should search the Scriptures for them; and they take the truth from their lips as a positive fact, but they do not know it to be Bible truth through their own individual research.”24
Biblical research is also indispensable to educate others.25 Ellen White counseled teachers, “Open the Bible to our youth, draw their attention to its hidden treasures, teach them to search for its jewels of truth, and they will gain from their research such strength of intellect as the study of science and of philosophy could not impart.”26 She noted that many students “have been sadly disappointed in our college. They expected to find help in their research of the Scriptures that they have not had.”27
Researcher traits. Biblical researchers are to bring various traits to their study. They must be diligent, honest, and humble, recognizing that there is always “an infinity beyond.”28 They are to be careful, thoughtful, and patient,29 and to lay aside prejudices and preconceived ideas before commencing their research, proceeding in the spirit of Christ.30
Ellen White mentioned frequently that the researcher should be a person of prayer.31 “By earnest prayer and diligent research,” she declared, “God’s workers may become giants in an understanding of Bible doctrine, and [gain] an appreciation of the practical lessons of Christ.”32 Students were also to obtain a Bible education “through prayer and close, deep research.”33
Methods. The methodology to be employed is key. One approach is to read through Scripture to develop an understanding of the whole, particularly in terms of integrating themes.34 Another method is to compare passages relating to a given topic and clarify interrelationships.35
A further approach is to focus on a specific portion of Scripture, digging deeply beneath the surface. While “some portions of the Scriptures are indeed too plain to be misunderstood,” Ellen White observed that “there are others whose meaning does not lie on the surface, to be seen at a glance.”36 These vital principles can be “obtained only by diligent research.”37
Topics. While any portion of the Bible may be profitably studied,38 particularly fertile topics include the origin of the earth, the introduction and consequences of sin, and the origin of the nations.39 Another fruitful topic is the law of God, especially the fourth commandment.40 Indeed, Ellen White highlighted “the great Teacher’s wisdom in limiting the measure of our researches in earthly directions,” that He might call “the attention of all to His legislation from the very foundation of our world,—to a code of morals, pure, simple, and practical.”41
Research of the teachings of Jesus will also yield new insights.42 The researcher is invited to trace “the grand theme of redemption,” particularly in relation to the question, “What shall I do to be saved?”43 It is impossible to deplete the topics for biblical research, for “a thousand years of research would not exhaust the hidden treasure it contains.”44 Throughout life and eternity, there will always be knowledge as yet undiscovered.45
Results. Biblical research “will be richly repaid.”46 The mind of the researcher will be strengthened with a correct knowledge of the truth.47 Such deep and earnest biblical research, Ellen White maintained, combined with fervent prayer, will enable persons to become “rooted and grounded in the faith.”48
Overall, biblical research has yielded “the science of the theology of truth” that has formed the bedrock of belief.49 This careful, earnest study has enabled researchers to “become lights in the world, shining amid the moral darkness.”50 And there is an effect on the researcher. “The better [the Bible] is known by research, the more highly it is prized.”51
Negative cases. On a few occasions, Ellen White wrote negatively about biblical research. She observed, for example, that it was “easy to put a false interpretation on Scripture, placing stress on passages and assigning to them a meaning, which, at first investigation, may appear true, but which by further search, will be seen to be false.”52
She also expressed concern that some might research the Bible in order to promote themselves, endeavoring “to find a new position and to advance new views in opposition to the established faith of the body.”53 In a letter to A. F. Ballenger, for example, she wrote, “There is with you, my brother, a desire to bring in something new and to take the minds captive, and yourself be supposed to be a deep man in research of the Word, when the facts are that you are not rightly interpreting the Word.”54
On the other hand, Ellen White did not advocate avoiding controversial issues. When some maintained that the “controverted question” of the interpretation of the two laws should be avoided, she stated, “If we have held as truth some points in doctrine that will not bear close criticism and investigation, it is our duty . . . [to] patiently to come to the Word of God in an humble, prayerful, inquiring mind.”55 She then added, “The truth will lose nothing of its force or beauty or power through research, testing every point which we have considered as truth, if we preserve the meekness of Christ in our research.”
At a cursory glance, it might seem that Ellen White regarded scientific research as misleading and detrimental. That view, however, is far removed from her intent.
Support. We should first note that Ellen White made very positive statements regarding scientific research. She wrote, for example, that “God has permitted a flood of light to be poured upon the world in discoveries in science.”56 She affirmed that “God is the author of science” and that vast fields of knowledge are open before the researcher where he or she may behold God in His created works.57 She asserted that through the study of science, a researcher may obtain a knowledge of the Creator and discover facets “of the wise and beneficent laws through which He works.”58
Ellen White also recommended that the church’s educational programs incorporate research in the sciences. She advocated, for instance, that “instead of confining their study to that which men have said or written,” students are to be directed “to the sources of truth, to the vast fields opened for research in nature and revelation.”59 To such a student, “scientific research will open vast fields of thought and information. As he contemplates the things of nature, a new perception of truth comes to him.”60
Concerns. Nevertheless, her endorsements of scientific research were not without qualification. Fundamentally, Ellen White did not elevate science above the Bible, but maintained that Scripture occupied the higher order.61 She warned that there is imminent danger in a scientific study wherein God is not acknowledged.62 “Those who prate about science and casting God’s Word in the shade . . . cannot understand or read nature without the Bible to interpret and explain it.” She then affirmed, “The Bible is not only the revealer of God to man, but his grand interpreter as the God of nature. The Bible . . . has given us the key which unlocks the mysteries of creation.”63
Ellen White expressed her greatest concern about situations where the Bible and the findings of science seem to be in conflict. She was troubled when researchers attempted to test the veracity of the Bible by “their standard of ‘science falsely so called.’”64 She maintained that scientific research is detrimental if it concludes that the Bible is in error, with such an approach ultimately resulting in skepticism and infidelity, particularly among the youth.65 Rather, human ideas of science are to be examined from the vantage of Scripture as the infallible standard.66 She observed that “even the greatest minds, if not guided by the Word of God in their research, become bewildered in the attempts to investigate the relations of science and revelation.”67
Risks. Ellen White viewed several factors as significant dangers in scientific research. The first related to the fallacy of assuming that all facts pertinent to a given case have been gathered or that the evidence presented is overpowering.68 As a result, the deductions of science are taught as if they are indisputable. Ellen White reminded her readers that Scripture calls such men “fools.” Such people profess to have incontrovertible data when they have only a “smattering of knowledge.”69 Even if one were to research a scientific topic throughout eternity, there would still be relevant information yet to be discovered.70
A second factor is the potential for the misinterpretation of findings.71 As a result, the Bible is made to appear uncertain and untrustworthy when it contradicts scientific data, with doubts soon becoming seen as facts by those who entertain them. Faith in the Bible is destroyed as Scripture first appears questionable, then objectionable. When science is exalted above its Author, both the researcher and those who study the research, particularly young people, are led astray. It is in this context that scientific research becomes a curse.72
A further scenario arises when the researcher bases his or her premise upon a secular point of view that denies the supernatural or that seeks to limit the power of God.73 If assumptions purposefully exclude God from the basis of study, the researcher “will assuredly come to wrong conclusions.”74 It is such “scientific research in which God is not acknowledged” that is “a positive injury.”75 Ellen White warned that when people endeavor to base their study solely upon natural principles, they will soon doubt the reliability of biblical history, then question the existence of God, and without the anchor of Scripture, will finally shipwreck on the rocks of agnosticism or atheism.76
A combined approach. Notwithstanding, Ellen White maintained that because “the book of nature and the book of revelation bear the impress of the same master mind,” they cannot but be in harmony.77 True science, she added, while employing different methods and terminology, will bring from its research “nothing that, rightly understood, conflicts with divine revelation.”78 Furthermore, as true scientific research and the Bible are not at variance, each will lead to a deeper understanding of the other.79 Particularly, combined research of the natural world and the written Word will lead to a deeper understanding of God’s character and His laws, resulting in a more intimate acquaintance with God.80
Other Types of Research
Ellen White also addressed other types of research, such as historical research, documentary analysis, and ethnographic studies, although not extensively. She noted, for example, that Jacques Lefevre, through his research into ancient literature, discovered the Bible for himself and, in so doing, helped usher in the Reformation.81 She also stated that the missionary Joseph Wolff, who traveled extensively in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, was able to witness effectively on his return by presenting lectures based on his research.82
We should also note that Ellen White, on several occasions, incorporated in her writings excerpts from works that included in their title the word research or a derivative. For example, in her book The Great Controversy, she quoted Researches and Missionary Labors by Joseph Wolff and Ecclesiastical Researches by Robert Robinson.83
While Ellen White held that “it is perfectly right to gather ideas from other minds,” she also warned against taking those ideas and merely reiterating them. “Make these ideas your own,” she advised, “frame the arguments yourselves, from your own study and research.”84
Ellen White believed, for example, that the process of education was to train students “to be thinkers, and not mere reflectors of other people’s thought.”85 She cautioned about students spending many years in school studying the results of research while at the same time neglecting the Bible.86 She warned that such reliance on the research of scholars, apart from the Word of God, can lead to erroneous conclusions to the point that one can “become enthused with theories that are of satanic origin.”87
Similarly, Ellen White warned that those who share knowledge with others “must not be content to depend upon the researches of other minds,” but must conduct careful research for themselves.88 She further cautioned that relying solely on research into what others have written could promote intellectual pride and limit one’s usefulness.89 “Very little of the money invested in piling up volumes for study and research,” she wrote, “furnishes anything that will make one a successful laborer for souls.”90
Guidance for Researchers
Sources of guidance. We are not left alone in the research endeavor. Ellen White affirmed that “Jesus has promised us a guide in our research”91 and that the Holy Spirit will “enlighten the mind and guide the research” of those who search for truth.92 “We must not only search,” she clarified, “we must ask God for wisdom to aid us in searching. The truths essential for us to know are too deeply buried to be discovered by unaided human research.”93
Ellen White held that there are matters which even the most careful research cannot adequately explain. The “ways and works of the Creator,” for example, present mysteries which even the most scholarly research cannot interpret.
The Bible, in turn, should illuminate research into the natural world. Ellen White warned that even the greatest minds, “if not guided by the word of God in their research, become bewildered; they cannot comprehend the Creator or His works.”94
If these divine resources are ignored or rejected, Satan, pretending to be a messenger of light, will present intriguing topics for study, and the researcher will be led to accept error as truth and “unite with seducing spirits in the work of propounding new theories which lead away from the truth.”95 Only through prayer and communion with God can a researcher escape this fatal trap.96
Specific counsel. Ellen White also gave explicit guidance to various types of individuals. Professionals, for example, were admonished to critically evaluate articles in their academic journals. Ellen White saw peril, for instance, when physicians would simply read and accept approaches to the treatment of disease “without sifting every statement.” As a result, they might weave these ideas into their practice, “experiment upon human lives, and sacrifice not a few.”97
Ellen White advised that students obtain in as short a time as possible a personal knowledge of Christ and Scripture through prayer and deep research.98 The opposite situation, however, could also occur. Students could spend long years in research without ever gaining a knowledge of God.99 Absorbed in their study of “books containing the results of human research,” they might neglect the Bible. More perilous, they might read material that casts doubt on the Word of God. In the minds of such youth, faith would ultimately perish as they accepted infidel statements as truth.100 To avoid these pitfalls, students should be trained to think for themselves, developing the habit of reflective reading.101
Recognition of limitations. While Ellen White recognized the value of research, she was also aware of its limitations. One constraint was that of partial knowledge. She noted that given the reality of a brief lifespan, limited sphere, and restricted vision, the researcher may not grasp all relevant facts.102 This limitation is evidenced in the way conclusions are frequently revised or discarded. It may also be seen in the conflicting theories promoted by various researchers. Ignoring this constraint is particularly detrimental when researchers “attempt to judge the Creator and His works by their own imperfect knowledge.”103
Another limitation is that of restricted scope. Ellen White held that there are matters which even the most careful research cannot adequately explain. The “ways and works of the Creator,” for example, present mysteries which even the most scholarly research cannot interpret.104 Similarly, the human mind has insufficient capability to comprehend the existence of God and the entrance of sin.105 Neither can one explain by scientific principles the Holy Spirit’s influence upon the heart nor the mystery of godliness.106
Given that research is powerless to fully explain certain phenomena in human life or in the natural world, how foolish, then, to attempt to controvert God’s existence, character, or law, or to conclude that some portions of Scripture are inspired while others are not.107 It is this speculative research into God’s nature, attributes, or prerogatives that “will yield no valuable results and can be pursued only at the peril of the soul.”108
Consequently, researchers must not only believe what they can understand.109 They are to recognize that, beneath the simple truths of the plan of salvation, there lie mysteries “that overpower the mind in its research, yet inspire the sincere seeker for truth with reverence and faith.”110 Here reason must bow before divine revelation. Even a “lifetime of prayer and research will leave much unexplored and unexplained.”111
The spirit of research. Ellen White advocated that researchers bring to their study a spirit of inquiry, both open-mindedness and determination. She noted that while prior study gathered “very much of the treasure that lies near the surface,” research properly conducted, with a mind “kept open and constantly searching, . . . will find hidden treasures of truth—some revealed in new aspect, others they had overlooked.”112
Ellen White also encouraged humility. While observing that God does not want us “to be less acute, less inquiring, or less intelligent,” she recommended that “in all our researches, we should remember that arrogance is not greatness, nor is conceit knowledge. Human pride is an evidence, not of strength, but of weakness. It reveals not wisdom, but folly. To exalt reason unduly is to abase it. To place the human in rivalry with the divine, is to make it contemptible.”113
In sum, while certainly recognizing its limitations and potential pitfalls, Ellen White was a strong advocate of research. She asserted that deep research is required in order to understand God’s truth.114 She affirmed that research is essential for the Christian life, if researchers “look to God at every step, the creature directed by the Creator.”115
Consequently, as Christian educators, we are to welcome research and incorporate research activities throughout the educational experience,116 provided that we likewise recognize that there is One who stands above all.117
This article has been peer reviewed.
John Wesley Taylor V, “Ellen White and the Role of Research,” The Journal of Adventist Education 82:2 (April-June 2020): 27-34.
NOTES AND REFERENCES
- Additionally, there are there are 72 instances of the term research or its derivatives in editor remarks or in references. Results are from searches conducted at http://www.egwwritings.org, a comprehensive database of the writings of Ellen White, published and unpublished, provided by the Ellen G. White Estate.
- Textually similar statements utilize the same wording. Conceptually similar statements may use synonyms, or the arrangement of wording may vary, while conveying the same thought. A compilation of the research statements in the writings of Ellen White may be found at http://circle.adventist.org/files/jae/egwresearch.pdf
- Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press, 1888), 522. (Hereafter abbreviated GC.)
- __________, Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students (Mountain View, Calif., Pacific Press, 1913), 377. (Hereafter abbreviated CT.) In a similar statement, Ellen White avowed: “Cold philosophical speculations, and scientific research in which God is not acknowledged, are a positive injury” (ibid., 423).
- __________, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: 1947), 8:307. (Hereafter abbreviated [Volume Number] plus T―e.g., 4T.)
- __________, “Imperative Necessity of Searching for Truth,” The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald 69:45 (November 15, 1892): 706. (Hereafter abbreviated RH.)
- __________, “Timothy,” The Youth’s Instructor 46:18 (May 5, 1898): para. 1. (Hereafter abbreviated YI.) Ellen White expanded this concept: “Many of [the Bible’s] treasures lie far beneath the surface and can be obtained only by diligent research and continuous effort” (Education [Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press, 1903], 123). (Hereafter abbreviated Ed.)
- CT 426.
- Ed 15.
- __________, Prophets and Kings (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press, 1917), 33. (Hereafter abbreviated PK.)
- __________, “The Word Made Flesh,” RH 83:14 (April 5, 1906): 8.
- __________, Christ Triumphant (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald, 1999), 33. (Hereafter abbreviated CTr.)
- __________, Christ’s Object Lessons (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1900), 378. (Hereafter abbreviated COL.)
- __________, “Peter’s Fall,” Signs of the Times 23:43 (November 4, 1879): 675, 676. (Hereafter abbreviated ST.)
- __________, Manuscript Release, vol. 20, No. 1490 (July 30, 1901), 335.3. (Hereafter abbreviated as the volume number plus MR, i.e., 20MR.) In the current context, the term Manuscript Releases refers to various types of documents written by Ellen White, that between 1981 and 1993 were collected and published in 21 volumes by the Ellen G. White Estate and are available online at http://m.egwwritings.org/en/folders/9.
- GC 411; __________, Spirit of Prophecy (Battle Creek, Mich.: Seventh-day Adventist Publ. Assn., 1884), vol. 4, 260. (Hereafter abbreviated 4SP.)
- __________, In Heavenly Places (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1967), 349 (Hereafter abbreviated HP); 3T 327.
- __________, Letter 23 to son J. E. White and his wife, Emma (August 5, 1879). (Hereafter abbreviated Lt plus number and date.) These are letters by Ellen White to a variety of people that are available online at http://egwwritings.org in the pull-down menu under Letters & Manuscripts.
- Lt 385, 1904 to J. H. Kellogg.
- 20MR No. 1492 (April 22, 1905), 349.
- __________, “Sparta Camp-Meeting,” RH 47:21 (May 25, 1876): 162; __________, “Imperative Necessity of Searching for Truth,” ibid. (November 15, 1892): 706.
- __________, “In Demonstration of the Spirit,” RH 65:36 (September 4, 1888): 561, 562.
- __________, “The Law of God,” ibid. 35:12 (March 8, 1870): 91.
- Lt 20a, 1888 to Brethren Who Assemble in the Week of Prayer, par. 5.
- __________, This Day With God (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1979), 43 (Hereafter abbreviated TDG); __________, That I May Know Him (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1964), 194. (Hereafter abbreviated TMK.)
- __________, “The Importance of Searching the Scriptures,” The Watchman (December 18, 1906): para. 3.
- __________, Manuscript 78, “Nearing the Judgment” (1886) par. 5. (Hereafter abbreviated Ms plus number and year. These are documents written by Ellen White that are available online at http://egwwritings.org in the pull-down menu under Letters & Manuscripts.
- 2MR No. 147 (1886), 245; 9MR No. 65 (July 27, 1891), 68; TMK 194; COL 129; __________, “The True, or the False,” RH 75:32 (August 9, 1898): 501, 502; __________, “Importance of Bible Study,” YI 32:19 (May 7, 1884): 75.
- 4T 499; The Upward Look, 54 (Hereafter abbreviated UL); __________, “Timothy,” YI 46 (May 5, 1898): para. 1 and 12.
- __________, “The True, or the False,” RH; 4T 499.
- __________, “Sparta Camp-Meeting,” RH; __________, “The True, or the False,” RH.
- 9MR No. 65, 68.
- __________, “The True Object of Education—No. 2,” YI 46:14 (April 7, 1898): para. 1.
- Lt 2, 1898, To the Leading Men in Our Churches, par. 1-17; UL 54.
- __________, “Imperative Necessity of Searching for Truth,” RH 69:45 (November 15, 1892): 706-708; TDG 43.
- __________, “Our Great Treasure-House,” ST 32:38 (October 3, 1906): 6; see also, Ed 123; __________, Our High Calling (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1961), 205. (Hereafter abbreviated OHC.)
- Ed 123. Ellen White utilized the analogy of a miner (see 8T 157); “The Divine Teacher,” ST 27:18 [May 1, 1901]: par. 1), and noted that one simply cannot skim over the surface and hope to discover deep truth (“Imperative Necessity of Searching for Truth,” RH 69:45 [November 15, 1892]: 706-708); “My People Have Committed Two Evils,” ST 19:47 (October 2, 1893): 741, 742.
- Lt 3, February 2, 1898, To Brethren, par. 1-16.
- CT 52; __________, From Eternity Past (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press, 1983), 434 (Hereafter abbreviated EP); __________, Healthful Living (Battle Creek, Mich.: Medical Missionary Board, 1898), 297. (Hereafter abbreviated HL.) Regarding these topics, Ellen White wrote, “All may now begin their research” (Messages to Young People [Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1930], 255). (Hereafter abbreviated MYP.)
- Ellen G. White, “The Law of God,” RH 35:12 (March 8, 1870): 90, 91; __________,”The True, or the False,” ibid. 75:32.
- __________, “The Lord’s Supper and the Ordinance of Feet-Washing—No. 4,” RH 75:25 (June 21, 1898): 389,390.
- __________, “Imperative Necessity of Searching for Truth,” ibid. 69:45 (November 15, 1892): 706.
- __________, “The Truth as It Is in Jesus,” ST 24 (June 16, 1898); Ms 61b, 1895, “Diary, November-December 1895”; Ms 69a, 1896, “Diary/Duties of Faithful Parenting; Loyalty to God’s Law” (1896-1897).
- CT 443. Also, __________, “The Truth as It Is in Jesus,” ST (ibid.)
- Ms 41, 1900, 10-12; MYP 253; TMK 194.
- OHC 205.
- Ms 41, 1900, par. 31; Ms 61b, 1895; MYP 253; TDG 43; 9MR, 310.
- __________, “In Demonstration of the Spirit,” RH 65:36 (September 4, 1888): 561, 562. In this line, one of the results frequently delineated was a clearer understanding of the plan of salvation and of its conditions (Ms 69a, 1896; Ms 33, 1897, “We Would See Jesus,” par. 1-33. Ellen White stated that when one engages in personal research with “humility of heart,” the theme of redemption will open before the researcher and he or she will more clearly comprehend the path to heaven (COL 129; UL 54).
- Ms 200, 1898, “Sermons/Thoughts on Colossians 2,” par. 1-15.
- Ms 33, 1900, “Unfaithful Shepherds,” par 17.
- Ms 78, 1886.
- TDG 43.
- 3T 438.
- Lt 366, 1905, “Letter to A. F. Ballenger,” par. 12. She further noted that “bringing in subjects of controversy and raising all manner of questions” absorbs the time of other ministers to assess these matters and “creates strife and misunderstandings.” A. F. Ballenger (1861–1921) was a Seventh-day Adventist minister who advocated Universalism and founded the “Receive Ye the Holy Ghost” movement, precursor to the Holy Flesh movement, an approach to worship that Ellen White strongly condemned (__________, Selected Messages [Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1958], Book 2, 36-38). (Hereafter abbreviated SM2.)
- Ellen G. White, The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials (Silver Spring, Md.: Ellen G. White Estate, Inc., October 1987), 825. Available at https://egwwritings-a.akamaihd.net/pdf/en_1888.pdf. (Hereafter abbreviated 1888.)
- GC 522.
- CT 426.
- __________, Patriarchs and Prophets (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press, 1890), 599. (Hereafter abbreviated PP.)
- Ed 17.
- __________, The Ministry of Healing (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press, 1905), 462. (Hereafter abbreviated MH.)
- MYP 257; MH 462.
- CT 377.
- Ms 78, 1886.
- 4SP 345.
- CT 377.
- MH 462.
- GC 522.
- __________, Selected Messages (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1980), Book 3, 306. (Hereafter abbreviated SM3.)
- __________, From the Heart (FH), 155.
- CT 66.
- COL 41; __________, Fundamentals of Christian Education (Nashville: Southern Publ. Assn., 1923), 328. (Hereafter abbreviated FE.)
- GC 522.
- Lt 18, 1892, “Letter to J. H. Kellogg,” par. 1-18.
- PP 113. See also COL 41. Ellen White noted that their research is, in reality, “conducted by the father of lies” (Ms 17, 1902, “Parents’ Work,” par. 5).
- CT 423.
- EP 66; FH 155.
- Ed 128.
- Regarding geology, for example, Ellen White stated, “Moses wrote under the guidance of the Spirit of God, and a correct theory of geology will never claim discoveries that cannot be reconciled with his statements. The idea that many stumble over, that God did not create matter when He brought the world into existence, limits the power of the Holy One of Israel” (“Science and Revelation,” ST 10:11 [March 13, 1884]: 161).
- PP 115; EP 68.
- MH 462.
- GC 212.
- GC 360.
- Ibid., 359, 385.
- __________, “Diligence a Necessary Qualification in the Minister,” RH 63:14 (April 6, 1886): 209, 210.
- Ellen G. White, True Education: An Adaptation of Education by Ellen G. White (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press, 2000), 12.
- CT 423.
- __________, Mind, Character, and Personality (Nashville: Southern Publ. Assn., 1977), vol. 2, 699. (Hereafter abbreviated 2MCP.) Ellen White then added, “Satan, clothed in the garb of an angel of light, presents for the study of the human mind subjects which seem very interesting and which are full of scientific mystery. In the investigation of these subjects, men are led to accept erroneous conclusions and to unite with seducing spirits in the work of propounding new theories which lead away from the truth” (ibid., 699).
- __________, “Preach the Word,” RH 65:17 (April 24, 1888): 257, 258. See also __________, “In Demonstration of the Spirit,” RH 65:36 (September 4, 1888): 561, 562; __________, “The Law of God,” RH; and Ms 33, 1897. Ministers, for instance, were warned about relying on information researched by others. Rather, they must gain knowledge for themselves in order to be successful in ministry (“Wanted, Laborers for the Harvest,” ST 2 [September 7, 1876]: par. 13).
- CT 381.
- __________, “Spiritual Food,” Gospel Herald 1:12 (December 1, 1899): 102, 103.
- Ms 106, 1893, “Will a Man Rob God?” par. 7.
- Lt 3, 1898. See also __________, “My People Have Committed Two Evils,” ST 19:47 (October 2, 1893): 741, 742; and Ms 33, 1897.
- __________, “The Divine Teacher,” ST 27:18 (May 1, 1901): para. 1.
- FE 84. Also, similarly, in GC 522.
- 2MCP 699.
- Ibid., 712.
- __________, Medical Ministry (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press, 1932), 139.
- Lt 76, 1897, “Letter to George A. Irwin,” par. 1-19.
- CT 423.
- COL 41.
- Ellen White wrote: “Those who have indulged the habit of racing through exciting stories, are crippling their mental strength, and disqualifying themselves for vigorous thought and research” (FE 163). See also CT 135.
- Ed 130.
- MH 427.
- Ms 4, 1882, “God in Nature,” par. 1-15.
- __________, Sermons and Talks (Silver Spring, Md.: Ellen G. White Estate, Inc., 1980), vol. 1, 65. (Hereafter abbreviated 1SAT.)
- MYP 190.
- HL 295; 1SAT 65.
- MH 427.
- 2MCP 569.
- __________, A Call to Stand Apart (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald, 2002); ibid.; Ed 170 (5T 700).
- 5T 301. Some of these mysteries Christ will reveal throughout eternity, while others may remain forever inscrutable (4SP 345). In these matters, unbridled curiosity can lead a researcher astray. This parallels the circumstance of Eve and the tree of knowledge (CTr 33), where the researchers are certain that the understanding they are about to grasp is essential, and their ambition anxiously seeks that knowledge that will enhance their sense of self-importance and supremacy.
- Ms 75a, 1897, “Sermon,” par. 1-16.
- __________, “Workers With Christ,” RH 63:3 (January 19, 1886): 33, 34; see also 1888, 825.
- __________, “Imperative Necessity of Searching for Truth,” RH 69:45 (November 15, 1892): 706, 707.
- 1888, 981.
- For example, Ed 17; MH 462; Lt 76, 1897; __________, “The Importance of Searching the Scriptures,” The Watchman (December 18, 1906): para. 3; __________, “The True Object of Education—No. 2,” YI 46 (April 7, 1898): para. 1.
- __________, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press, 1898), 464.