We, the delegates assembled in Utrecht for the fifty-sixth session of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, express praise and thanksgiving to God for His gracious gift of the Spirit of Prophecy.
In Revelation 12, John the Revelator identifies the church in the last days as the “remnant . . . which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (verse 17). We believe that in this brief prophetic picture the Revelator is describing the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which not only keeps “the commandments of God” but has “the testimony of Jesus Christ,” which is “the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10).
In the life and ministry of Ellen G. White (1827–1915), we see God’s promise fulfilled to provide the remnant church with the “spirit of prophecy.” Although Ellen G. White did not claim the title “prophet,” we believe she did the work of a prophet, and more. She said: “My commission embraces the work of a prophet, but it does not end there” (Selected Messages, Book One, p. 36); “If others call me by that name [prophetess], I have no controversy with them” (ibid., p. 34); “My work includes much more than this name signifies. I regard myself as a messenger, entrusted by the Lord with messages for His people” (ibid., p. 36).
Ellen G. White’s chief burden was to direct attention to the Holy Scriptures. She wrote: “Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light” (Review and Herald, January 20, 1903). She believed that although her writings are a “lesser light,” they are light, and that the source of this light is God.
As Seventh-day Adventists, we believe that “in His Word God has committed to men the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are to be accepted as an authoritative, infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the revealer of doctrines, and the test of experience” (The Great Controversy, p. 7). We consider the biblical canon closed. However, we also believe, as did Ellen G. White’s contemporaries, that her writings carry divine authority, both for godly living and for doctrine. Therefore, we recommend:
- That as a church we seek the power of the Holy Spirit to apply to our lives more fully the inspired counsel contained in the writings of Ellen G. White, and
- That we make increased efforts to publish and circulate these writings throughout the world.
This statement was approved and voted by the General Conference session in Utrecht, the Netherlands, June 30, 1995.