Being Christians, we know
that many false prophets attempt to lure us to them and
satanic error. But there is a simple test that will tell
us if a self-styled "prophet" is indeed under Divine
What is that test? Isaiah 8:20. "To the Law and the
Testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it
is because there is NO light in them." Of course, the
Law and the Testimony refer to God's commands and the
witness (testimony) of the writers of the Bible, who
were inspired. "All scripture is given by inspiration of
God.." 2 Timothy 3:16.
I have been asked many times if I agree with the
writings of Ellen White and other self-proclaimed
prophets. My consistent response is simply, "I agree
with writers who agree with the inspired writers of the
Bible, and I disagree with writers who disagree with the
Bible." I find this practice to be a safe and true way
to separate truth from error.
Now, let's look at several points to see if Ellen White
agrees with scripture.
First, are her teachings on tithing based on
Deuteronomy 14, clearly states the purpose of tithing
and how tithes were to be used.
V. 22- The Israelites were to tithe the increase of
their crops every year.
V. 23- The farmer and his family were to use the tithe
in celebration of and in honor of God, who lessed their
labors. They were to tithe corn, wine, oil, and animals.
Vs. 24-26- If the designated place of celebration were
too far, the farmer was to sell the tithe, turn it into
money, and go with his family to the designated place of
celebration. Once they were there, they were to use the
money for themselves, "for whatsoever thy soul desireth.."
Have you ever heard your pastor tell you to take tithe
and use it for celebration for yourself and your family?
Vs. 27- The Levites, who cared for the Tabernacle and
who served as priests, were to receive some of the tithe
(no specific amount is designated.) However, as we study
the writings of Paul in the New Testament, we find that
the priestly system of Moses' day was done away with
when Christ, died, arose, and went to sit at the right
hand of the Father as our advocate and High Priest.
Christ's death took the place of the animal sacrifices
of the ceremonial system of Moses' time. No human
priest is needed to go between the Father, God, and the
individual human. See Matthew 25, if you wish to
understand how we give to our High Priest, today. We do
so by caring for His needy children.
Vs. 28-29- At the end of each third year of the
sabbatical cycle, the Israelites were to bring a tithe
of their increase and store it within their storage
Again, the Levites were to receive a portion of the
tithe, but some of the tithe was to go to strangers
(refugees), orphans, and widows, who lived in the
villages of the tithers.
Compare this Biblical instruction with that of Ellen
White, who wrote, "One reasons that the tithe may be
applied to school purposes. Still others reason that
canvassers and colporteurs should be supported from the
tithe. But a great mistake is made when the tithe is
drawn from the object
for which it is to be used-the support of ministers."
(Underlining mine,) Testimonies, Vol. 9, 248-249. What
might she have said if one were to take some of the
tithe for celebrating with his family? Rebuke, rebuke,
Ellen White also taught that tithes should not be used
to help the poor. (Counsels on Stewardship, 103.) Why
does not Mrs. White support the Biblical instruction to
use tithe for supporting widows, orphans, and refugees?
(For a more complete discussion of the tithing question
and to see why tithing, a required practice under the
ceremonial law, was replaced by free-will giving after
Christ's death, see my article BEWARE THE TITHE TRAP,
found at several places on the www; go to Google and
type in the
title with my name, Fillmer Hevener.)
Second, did Ellen White become wealthy from her
Reportedly, she died a
quite wealthy woman! The vast majority of her wealth
came from royalties on her books. It is reported that
she made well over $100,000 in book royalties in her
lifetime. In 2005 dollars, this would be over 2.2
million. In the 1890s and 1900s, it is again reported
that she was making $8,000 to $12,000 per year from her
book royalties; this did not include her salary from the
church; some reports state that at times she had up to
fourteen household servants and staff.
In 2005 dollars, this income would amount to $175,000 to
$265,000 per year, which would put her in the top 1% of
wage-earners in the world.
Remember, our Master lived and died, giving of Himself
and teaching/preaching/healing without charge. No, He
did not become wealthy from sharing the gospel of
salvation. It cost Him His Life!
Third, how did some non-prophets use their royalties
In the 16th Century, Martin Luther translated the Bible
into common German, the language of the people. The
translation was an instant success. Luther could have
become wealthy from the royalties on this book, but he
REFUSED TO TAKE ANY ROYALTIES, stating that he wanted
cost of the Bible to remain as low as possible so that
even the peasants could have access to it. He did not
wish to make money on God's word!
In the late 1870's, Dwight L. Moody, the great
evangelist, and Ira Sankey, his marvelous hymn writer
and pianist, were evangelizing in England. While there,
Sankey made a hymnbook of many of his songs. When the
Moody/Sankey team returned to America, their publisher
told them that
their royalties amounted to over $35,000; in 2005
dollars this would be equal to 1,750,000. However, Moody
and Sankey refused to accept a penny of it and left it
for the committee that directed their campaign to use as
they saw fit.
One can only believe that God was pleased with their
generosity and lack of greed as well as their refusal to
make money from spreading the gospel.
Therefore, what conclusion can you draw about Ellen
White as a "prophet"? Were her teaching and her
practices in the areas examined in this article,
teachings and practices faithful to the doctrines of
Christ and Scripture? Did she follow the "law and the
For most objective Christians, the answer is clear!