Sunday, August 28, 2005

Whatever happened to Ellen White?

We might as well admit it: our kids are not reading Ellen White.

Read the latest report from ValueGenesis or talk to an academy Bible teacher – they’ll tell you she’s neither liked or disliked by most of our students; she’s simply ignored.

And yes, it would be easy to say this was just another “sign of the times”; it would be easy to blame this on the declining spiritual values of our youth . . . if it weren't for the fact that our youth are actually doing pretty well.

In fact, our children are now more likely than ever before to say they read their Bibles, pray, and have accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior; they are doing better in almost every objective measure of spirituality except the study of Ellen White.

So what’s going on?

I suspect that some of this is a backlash . . . not so much by the kids themselves as by their teachers, pastors, and parents. It’s my generation – the “boomers” born in the Fifties and Sixties – who talk of Ellen White “being crammed down our throats.” Now we’ve swung to the opposite extreme: my generation hardly mentions her at all!

Then too, we’ve done a poor job of introducing her to the next generation. Ninety-years after she died, there’s still no good biography of Ellen White. No documentaries, dramatizations, or plays. No single-volume collection of her “greatest hits” that you can use as an introduction to her works. Not even a decent website.

(I mean, you can't even get her books on tape! How difficult would that be?)

Finally, we’ve changed our view of spiritual gifts. In the past, remember, we believed that God had poured out the Holy Spirit on His church through the Spirit of Prophecy. Now we believe that God pours out His Spirit on every Christian. Every Christian, we say, has been gifted by the Spirit. But if every single Christian has thus been gifted . . . then what makes Ellen White unique?

And if she’s not unique . . . well, you can guess where that line of reasoning will get you!

In short, there’s no single reason why Ellen White is slowly disappearing from our churches and schools – just as there’s no single solution that will bring her back.

But if we don’t act soon, then our kids will never discover Ellen White.

And that means their kids will never discover Ellen White.

And we won’t be around to tell them what they’re missing.

Pastor Greg

And remember: “The faithful discharge of today’s duties is the best preparation for tomorrow’s trials” – Ellen White, The Ministry of Healing.


Dave said...

What happened to Ellen White?

In my opinion...

One generation built their faith on a literalistic interpritation of her writings. The next rejected this faith being crammed down their throats. The following generation ignored her because their parents did. But the Generation Ys I know seem quite open to her. The biggest challenge though is not getting them to read Ellen White, but teaching them how to read Ellen White.

BTW, great post.

Michael said...

The way I see it, it's a fulfillment of prophecy. First, the disregard for the Tesimonies (which are probably her least read books, even among older members in my church), and then a disregard for the foundations including the Sabbath.

Once 'the spirit' reaches everyone in the church, we should have no problem blending in with Babylon's charismatic worship services. It will be easier and easier for people to accept our church, because we will lose our identity of who we are.

One other thought - why do we have to teach them HOW to read Ellen White? That's like teaching higher criticism of the Bible, of which I am also opposed. Do we still believe in the literal 7 day creation? Do we still believe in the literal resurrection of Christ? How long will the next generations after us believe in these things if we continue to chip away and re-interpret the foundations of our faith?

Just my two cents.


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