A Critique of Faith and Works

Faith & Works by Ellen G. White:  A critique of Her Position.

Ellen G. White, as founder of the Seventh Day Adventism, has written a number of volumes on a variety of subjects.  Here she has written on the issues of Faith and Works.  Our comments are in Blue, while her writings are in "Black".

As is common among heretical teachers, there is great confusion about these terms.  She makes these terms equivalent for the most part, in her writings, and only makes a distinction when she wants to emphasize the needs for “works”.   Mrs. White has posited many of the same errors on these issues, as did Joseph Smith, the founder and prophet for the Latter Day Saints.  In similar manner, there is a complete blurring the distinction of justification and sanctification for the believer. 

Also, it should be noted that, Ellen White speaks very authoritative on these issues here.  She is not proposing ideas and beliefs, but rather, she is stating them emphatically and categorically as baseline truth for the saints.  This reveals the belief that she was operating as a “prophetic messenger” to the remnant people of God, at least in her own mind. 

It should also be noted, that she contradicted herself on almost every point as your read carefully through her writings.  While she is quite familiar with the Bible, she quotes it as though you can splice any verse together with another, as long as there is a similar word or concept present.   Also, some the statements she makes at times are quite sound, but then later in her writings she will contradict the idea, thus making a statement for the idea and against it at the same time.  This is indicative of all liars. 

Said the apostle Paul, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? . . . And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). The absence of devotion, piety, and sanctification of the outer man comes through denying Jesus Christ our righteousness. The love of God needs to be constantly cultivated. . . . {FW 15.1}

While one class pervert the doctrine of justification by faith and neglect to comply with the conditions laid down in the Word of God--"If ye love Me, keep My commandments"-- there is fully as great an error on the part of those who claim to believe and obey the commandments of God but who place themselves in opposition to the precious rays of light--new to them--reflected from the cross of Calvary. The first class do not see the wondrous things in the law of God for all who are doers of His Word. The others cavil over trivialities and neglect the weightier matters, mercy and the love of God. {FW 15.2}

Many have lost very much in that they have not opened the eyes of their understanding to discern the wondrous things in the law of God. On the one hand, religionists generally have divorced the law and the gospel, while we have, on the other hand, almost done the same from another standpoint. We have not held up before the people the righteousness of Christ and the full significance of His great plan of redemption. We have left out Christ and His matchless love, brought in theories and reasonings, and preached argumentative discourses. {FW 15.3}

Unconverted men have stood in the pulpits sermonizing. Their own hearts have never experienced, through a living, clinging, trusting faith, the sweet evidence of the forgiveness of their sins. How, then, can they preach the love, the sympathy, the forgiveness of God for all sins? How can they say, "Look and live"? Looking at the cross of Calvary, you will have a desire to bear the cross. A world’s Redeemer hung upon the cross of Calvary. Behold the Saviour of the world, in whom dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Can any look and behold the sacrifice of God’s dear Son, and their hearts not be melted and broken, ready to surrender to God heart and soul? {FW 16.1}


It is clear that Ellen White would fall into the Lordship class of preachers.  She believes that there can be no separation here.  This is somewhat justified, since God is One, but for an unbeliever to mix these two ideas together and think that that their justification is somehow based up their offering up their life in exchange for “acceptance, justification, forgiveness of sins, eternal life…” is more than dangerous, it is not sound doctrine.  Either we are saved because of the work of the cross or some other mechanism.  You cannot have dueling issues and causes, because men are depraved and will instinctively rely upon that which is not God, nor his work. 


Let this point be fully settled in every mind: If we accept Christ as a Redeemer, we must accept Him as a Ruler. We cannot have the assurance and perfect confiding trust in Christ as our Saviour until we acknowledge Him as our King and are obedient to His commandments. Thus we evidence our allegiance to God. We have then the genuine ring in our faith, for it is a working faith. It works by love. Speak it from your heart: "Lord, I believe Thou hast died to redeem my soul. If Thou hast placed such a value upon the soul as to give Thy life for mine, I will respond. I give my life and all its possibilities, in all my weakness, into Thy keeping." {FW 16.2}


The will must be brought into complete harmony with the will of God. When this is done, no ray of light that shines into the heart and chambers of the mind will be resisted. The soul will not be barricaded with prejudice, calling light darkness and darkness light. The light from heaven is welcomed, as light filling all the chambers of the soul. This is making melody to God. [BEGIN P.17] {FW 16.3}

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