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1928 and the Mature Ellen

Posted Jun 11, 2011 by Gary Hullquist in Spirit of Prophecy
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After decades of entrenchment, scholars and theologians are convinced in the authorized position: There is an “early Ellen” and a “mature Ellen.”

Early Ellen was either simply uninformed (not having all the light yet) or intentionally quiet (unwilling to oppose her forceful, domineering husband) on the subject of the “three persons of the heavenly trio.”

Thus, she was either unaware of this truth or suppressed it until after his death in 1881.

Then she waited another 8 years before either receiving additional light (new light) on the subject or finally deciding it was safe enough to fully express her life-long conviction (as an original Methodist) in the Trinitarian belief of her childhood.

Regardless of which of these two alternatives one accepts, the result is the same.  Early Ellen cannot be fully trusted, is insufficiently inspired, and may in fact be in some degree faulty. Consequently, it is generally recognized today that we must divorce ourselves from her less-than-fully inspired statements that are found during the initial years in her prophetic office.  The problem with this position is that we must face a new dilemma: where do we exactly draw the line?  When can we begin to fully trust what the messenger wrote?

What I find astounding is that today she receives full credit for making the church Trinitarian when she never employed the term herself (a most amazing feat!).  It certainly was not because she abandoned her belief in the divinely begotten Son (statements defending that position only intensified in her later years as anyone will discover from studying her works; see RH April 5, 1906 as cited below).  It must then be attributed to her accelerated comments on the personality/personhood of the Spirit (which were likewise clearly identified as the Spirit of Christ; see below).

As Frank Klin just reminded me this morning, it was Froom who found it necessary (even after all that “late Ellen” had to say!) to “fully” develop her “leads” into a full-blown Trinitarian position:

May I here make a frank personal confession? When, back between 1926 and 1928, I was asked by our leaders to give a series of studies on the Holy Spirit, covering the North American union ministerial institutes of 1928, I found that, aside from priceless leads found in the Spirit of Prophecy, there was practically nothing in our literature setting forth a sound Biblical exposition in this tremendous field of study. There were no previous pathfinding books on the question in our literature.” (Leroy Edwin Froom (1890-1974), “Movement of Destiny”, p. 322 [1971])

Who was it really who made the church Trinitarian?  Does Mature Ellen get all the credit? LeRoy would like to say so, a dozen years after Ellen’s death.  This date is also important for another reason. It is the last time in the Review and Herald that Proverbs 8:22-30 was cited as a reference to Christ’s divine birth when He was “brought forth…the beginning of His ways” before the mountains or earth ever was. Prior to 1928 it was the favored text to prove this point:  RH April 10, 1866; June 18, 1867; April 6, 1897; April 30, 1901; March 31, 1903; April 5, 1906 (Late Ellen); March 14, 1912; May 10, 1917; Dec 6, 1928.  Then silence.

There may indeed be no going back for all who find their security (both reputable and fiscal) in the formal organization.  But the hearts of the people, those who are searching with all their hearts (Jer 29:13), are being turned back to the Father and His Son where there is the only real fellowship (1John 1:3).

Chronological Trend of the Mature Ellen

“the presence of His Son, it was as His own presence” Spirit of Prophecy p. 17, 1870

“The Spirit of the Son of God was abiding in her [Abigail’s] soul” ST Oct 26, 1888

“by his Holy Spirit Jesus can bind heart to heart” RH May 27, 1890

“the Spirit of God, which is Christ…the omnipresence of the Spirit of Christ, called the Comforter” 14MR p. 179, Letter 7, June 11, 1891

“The divine Spirit…is the presence and power of God” ST Nov 23, 1891

“The Saviour is our Comforter” 8MR p. 49, July 16, 1892

“the holy Spirit is the comforter, as the personal presence of Christ” RH Nov 29, 1892

“Jesus is waiting to breathe upon all his disciples…his sanctifying spirit, and transfuse the vital influence from himself…Christ is to live in his human agents” ST Oct 3, 1892

“By the Spirit the Father and the Son will come and make their abode with you” Bible Echo Jan 15, 1893

“the abiding presence of Christ in their hearts…his Spirit” RH July 3, 1894

“The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, which is sent to all men” 14MR p. 84, Jan 2, 1894

“Daniel was imbued with the Spirit of Jesus Christ” Letter 90, 1894

“The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ…His Spirit” 13MR No. 1056 p. 313, Letter 18, 1895

“The Holy Spirit is Himself divested of the personality of humanity…He would represent Himself as present in all places by His Holy Spirit, as the Omnipresent” 14MR p. 21, Feb 18, 1895

“Christ…He is an unseen presence in the person of the Holy Spirit” Letter 124, March 7, 1897

“The influence of the Holy Spirit is the life of Christ in the soul…his Holy Spirit” Home Missionary, July 1, 1897

“the omnipresence of the Spirit of Christ, called the Comforter” 14MR No. 1107, 1897

“He was to be absent in person; but through the Comforter He would will be with them” DA p. 277, 1898

“Christ gives them the breath of His own spirit, the life of His own life.” DA p. 827, 1898

“The impartation of the Spirit is the impartation of the life of Christ.” DA p. 805, 1898

“Christ has become the medium of prayer between man and God. He is also the medium of blessing between God and man.” Letter 22, 1898; 6BC p. 1078.

“The impartation of the Spirit was the impartation of the very life of Christ” RH June 13, 1899

“Christ as He is manifested by the Holy Spirit, is the treasure of the New Testament.” COL p. 126, 1900

“The Holy Spirit is the vital presence of God” Bible Echo Aug 5, 1901

“In giving us His Spirit, God gives us Himself” 7T p. 273, 1902

“his continued presence…the Holy Spirit…when he was to take his bodily presence from them”

“I will come to you…and my Father…we will come unto him…Thus the living presence of the Father and the Son would be found in and among the people of God.” RH Sept 23, 1902

“The Lord Jesus acts through the Holy Spirit, for it is his representative. Through it he infuses spiritual life to the soul” RH Feb 10, 1903

“the Holy Spirit to come into every heart? The presence of Christ, manifest among us” RH Nov 26, 1903

“Christ was invested with power to give life to all creatures…It is the Spirit that quickeneth”  John 5:26 quoted. “Christ gave to humanity an existence out of himself…The Holy Spirit, which proceeds from the only begotten Son of God” RH April 5, 1906

“the Spirit was poured out…The Spirit of Him who died that sinners might live” RH April 30, 1908

“They have one God and one Saviour; and one Spirit—the Spirit of Christ” 9T p. 189, 1909

“the promised Comforter…the conscious presence of their ascended Lord” GC p. 350, 1911

“the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Saviour” AA p. 284, 1911