Adventism's General Conference of 2000 votes to promote Ellen G. White more aggressively to Adventist members and to the world
By Dennis Hokama
Many Adventists have written to us that their church does not promote Ellen G. White (EGW) in order to separate themselves from her and say that they preach the Bible only. These Adventists have deluded themselves. EGW's name may not be mentioned from the pulpit in some cases, but her non-biblical doctrines are still preached. This resolution makes it clear that the Adventist denomination still remains a cult with a false prophetess. —Robert K. Sanders
July 2, 2000. The business meeting came to order shortly after 9:30 on Sunday morning in the Skydome. Phil Follett, General Conference (GC) General Vice President, acted as chairman with Harold Baptiste, GC Associate Secretary, as secretary, and Athol H. Tolhurst, GC Undersecretary, as advisor.
Early in the session, Resolution #214 came to the floor for consideration. Resolution #214 is a six-part resolution strongly affirming and promoting the "Spirit of Prophecy" in every level of church work. Bert Haloviak, Director of GC Archives and Statistics, succeeded in amending the original wording of the resolution so that it referred to the "Spirit of Prophecy through the ministry of Ellen White." This change was urged because the spirit of prophecy is also contained in the Bible.
The following is a summary of its main points:
- An expression of thanks for the wonderful gift of prophecy to the church.
- A call to intensify efforts to instill in youth an appreciation for the Spirit of Prophecy (SOP).
- All ministers should promote SOP more to members
- Church administrators are to promote SOP more than they are.
- Churches are to have annual SOP days.
- Schools are to have annual Adventist Heritage weeks.
It was difficult to get the names of all those who spoke on the issue because some did not use the mike well, and their names appeared on the screen for only a few seconds. However, the discussion that followed has been reconstructed below as accurately as possible under the circumstances.
One of the first to come to the mike was Jurrien den Hollander of the Dutch Union. While he supported the resolution, he asked if there had ever been a similar resolution on behalf of the Bible. If not, he felt that a similar one for the Bible must be passed if we were going to do one for SOP. As he later explained, if there were no Bible, there could be no SOP.
He was assured by the chair that he would be given a chance to propose a resolution on behalf of the Bible if the resolution under consideration passed.
Kenneth Wood, who had attended his first GC in 1927, spoke on behalf of the resolution and requested that enforcement "teeth" be put into the resolution. He further expressed concern over websites that were attacking Ellen White.
Someone asked if a similar resolution had been passed previously. After some consultation, Tolhurst replied that although similar resolutions had been passed, this one was sufficiently different to justify proceeding.
A man from the Inter American Division spoke in favor of the resolution, saying this would be a clear repudiation of the idea that SOP was an ecclesiastical faux pax.
Kit Watts spoke in favor of the resolution, but asked the White Estate to use gender inclusive language.
A South Pacific Division delegate endorsed the resolution, but stated that it must be accompanied by education on the proper relationship between the Spirit of Prophecy and Scripture.
An African delegate implored that something be done to counter the critics of Ellen White; especially those on the internet.
John Fowler, an associate in the GC Education department originally from India, supported the idea. Those in academic circles, he lamented, consider Ellen White an embarrassment. But this resolution was essential in his opinion for unity. We must embrace SOP and give the trumpet a certain sound. A "lesser light" is still important.
Jim Zackrison, GC Sabbath School Director, spoke in favor and assured the delegates that the Sabbath School materials were all written in a manner consistent with the resolution.
A Spanish speaking woman from South American Division endorsed resolution, but also supported the idea of passing a similar resolution in favor of the Bible as soon as this resolution was passed.
A South Asian Pacific Division delegate spoke in support, while also taking care to promote the Bible. He then expressed concern about internet critics of Ellen White and implored the White Estate to counter them.
A delegate from the African-Indian Ocean Division also spoke in favor. He mentioned that he used to see copies of Answers to Objections, and recommended that it be brought back to combat the critics. He also recommended that the copyright to Ellen White books be released to publishers in countries where they could be printed less expensively than in America.
A Nigerian spoke up to endorse the idea of publishing in countries that could do it less expensively.
A young Caucasian woman from the Euro-African Division speaking through a translator, spoke against the resolution, saying that she and others with exposure to the ideas of Luther, would object to that kind of pressure. She wondered if such a resolution were necessary in light of similar previous resolutions. While claiming to be supportive of Ellen White, she questioned whether Ellen White herself would endorse the resolution under consideration.
Robert Kloosterhuis, G.C. General Vice President, moved the question. His motion passed, and the resolution itself was voted a few minutes later with no visible opposition.
Following the passing of the resolution, delegate Hollander was invited to submit his proposed resolution to promote the Bible in the same way to Robert Kloosterhuis and his committee for preparation.