Reading Ellen White - Book Report

The following is a book report I wrote for the book Reading Ellen White by George Knight. I highly recommend it for anyone who likes to read Ellen White's books.

Reading Ellen White is by far one the most priceless books I have ever read. This book has laid out in a simple manner the keys to effectively and accurately interpreting the writings of Ellen White. What makes this book so powerful is the fact that the author - George Knight - does not seek to establish his own method of interpretation, but rather present's to the reader how Ellen White herself related to - and interpreted her own writings. It is interesting to see how some of Ellen White's quotations dealing on the same issue can at first glance appear to contradict one another. However, this is the same way the Bible can appear. A comprehensive study on the topic in question would allow one to reach a balanced conclusion that would spare the sincere reader all of the drama associated with extremes.

In Reading Ellen White, George Knight presents several warnings as well. One of those warnings I found especially helpful to myself. The warning is found in the chapter titled, 'Focus on the Central Issues'. Here George Knight presents what he refers to as, 'the theology of the center'. This theology invites the reader to focus on the central themes of a passage instead of looking for side issues that don't matter. In the chapter that followed, George Knight gave an example of a movement in Ellen White's day calling the remnant church to abandon shaving. According to them shaving was 'the god of this age' and should not be practiced by those claiming to be God's children. They quoted Matthew 10:30 which says that God has numbered all of the hairs on our head. According to them, cutting off what God had cared enough to count was arrogance. However, the central issue of the text is not that God doesn't want us to shave but that He loves us and knows us better than we know ourselves. By focusing on the central themes we can avoid falling into fanatical snares such as this one.

Another chapter that I found very powerful was the chapter titled, 'Use Common Sense'. George Knight gave some great advise and also showed how not following this counsel can be deadly. He told the story of a group of seven missionaries who wanted to be so faithful to the letter of the law that they ended up dying. In this scenario a disease had stricken the region where they worked and drugs were administered to prevent sickness and death. However, six of the seven missionaries did not accept the drug because Ellen White had counseled against the use of that drug among others. All six of them died. The one that lived was the one who used common sense and took the drug. Was he unfaithful? According to Ellen White, he was not. A man who had lost his son due to a similar scenario asked Ellen if it would have been sin for him to give his son the drug. She replied 'No, we are expected to do the best we can.'

In conclusion, if you want to learn how to read Ellen White without becoming a sour faced extremist that nobody likes ( a description of the vast majority of EGW readers) then read this book. In it George Knight shows how balanced Ellen White truly was and how misused her writings actually are. You will walk away from this read with a new appreciation for her gift and a better understanding on how to read and apply her counsels.

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