I was recently preparing for a presentation when I came across a sermon that Ellen White gave in Oakland, California on October 20th, 1906. There is a controversial statement that Ellen White supposedly made during that sermon. The statement is often used to “prove” that Ellen White believed and taught that the Holy Spirit is “third being” like the Father and Son. Here is the statement.
“You are born unto God, and you stand under the sanction and the power of the three holiest beings in heaven, who are able to keep you from falling. You are to reveal that you are dead to sin; your life is hid with Christ in God. Hidden “with Christ in God”—wonderful transformation.” MS 95, 1906, Par 29
While this statement is certainly intriguing, one should be very cautious of putting too much weight on this single occurrence for the following reasons:
1. This is the only instance in the SOP that she refers to the Holy Spirit as a being
2. This Manuscript is the work of a stenographer who was present at the sermon.
3. Based on #1 and #2 it is reasonable to conclude that it was not written accurately.
4. If she truly did teach that the Spirit is a third being, then we would see evidence of this in the Bible.
5. Her Prayer
With the first four points in mind, I would like you to read her prayer that she gave at the end of the service and ask yourself if she is truly trying to teach us that the Spirit is a third being. The prayer is addressed primarily to the Father but she occasionally addresses Jesus Christ personally. Nowhere does she address the Holy Spirit. This prayer is very insightful in that regards but probably even more importantly, it is a very beautiful prayer and one that is reminiscent of Jesus’ prayer in John 17.
I hope that her prayer touches your heart as it did mine.
October 20th, 1906
Mrs. E. G. White: I should like to pray. (Praying) Our heavenly Father, we come to Thee this evening, as our only Refuge, as our only Helper, as the only One who can save us from ourselves. Oh, my heavenly Father, Thou hast heard the words that I have tried to say to this people this afternoon. And I ask Thee, Lord, that Thou wouldst make the impression. Thou alone canst break the iron bands of the heart. Thou alone canst cause the blind eyes to discern what sin is. Thou alone canst impress the understanding with a realization of the character that every soul must have and reveal in this world before he can be prepared for translation into the family of heaven. Oh, my Father, my Father, the blindness, the terrible blindness, that comes over the people, that they do not discern what manner of character Thou canst accept and what Thou wilt be compelled to reject! We ask Thee, Lord, that Thou wouldst work upon minds and hearts. Oh, that Thou wouldst impress upon all the terrible nature of sin, and how Thou dost regard sin.
Oh, my Father, my Father, Thou didst so love the world that Thou gavest Thine only beloved Son to die a shameful death, that the world through Him might have everlasting life! Thou hast given the human family here below the privilege of educating themselves in rightdoing, that they may be prepared to unite with the sinless family above and dwell forevermore in Thy kingdom. We see the opportunities and the privileges that are passing by, and yet there are hearts that are becoming more and still more hardened, less and still less sensitive. Oh, we pray Thee, for the sake of Jesus Christ who has borne the stripes, who has suffered the agonies of the crucifixion to make it possible for every soul that lives to unite with the family of God—oh, we pray, my Saviour, we pray Thee to break up this hardness of heart! I pray Thee to melt and subdue the soul.
I pray Thee, my heavenly Father, that Thou wouldst flash light upon the people here, that they may obey the call. If they repent not, Thou wilt have to say to them, “How canst thou come in hither, not having on the wedding garment?” It is the wedding garment of Christ’s righteousness that must be put on. Oh, Lord, I ask Thee to have compassion upon human minds in this congregation! I pray Thee, Lord, that they may not go on hardening their hearts any longer. I pray Thee that this awful manifestation of self may be broken up. I pray Thee that self may be crucified, and that self may die, in order that there may be a reconversion in the midst of us, and that souls may be brought to humble themselves before Thee, and to be reconverted.
My Father, my Father, for Christ’s sake, let Thy Spirit impress the minds of those who are in this house, and may they clear the King’s highway, and prepare the way for Thee to come to work with human minds. Help them to remove the stumbling blocks out of the way, and to take themselves out of the way. They are standing directly in Thy way; and oh, impress their hearts so fully, so sensibly, that they will repent, repent, repent, and be converted, before it shall be everlastingly too late!
Oh God, the word is about to be pronounced: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” Awful words to hear, to those that are unready!
Wilt Thou, Lord, break up this coldness, this iciness, this frozenheartedness! Oh, give them no rest, day nor night, until they see the necessity of transformation of character; until they see the necessity of clearing the King’s highway.
My heavenly Father, we come to Thee as Thy little children. Thou hast called us little children, and I pray Thee that we may become little children. Oh Lord, Thou didst say to Thy disciples, when they were seeking to be first, that those who seek to be the first shall be the last of all. Help us to humble our souls before God. Help our hard hearts to repent.
My Father, my Father, I present before Thee the merits of our Redeemer, Thy Son Jesus, who suffered the awful agonies of the cross to redeem the race. I plead with Thee that Thou wouldst break up the fallow ground of the heart, in order that the seeds of truth may become fastened in the mind, and spring up and bear the best kind of fruit, to the glory of God. We cannot endure the thought that of the large number who are in this congregation, many at last may say that “the harvest is past, the summer is ended,” the final proffers of salvation have been made, and my soul is not saved! What an awful acknowledgment this would be! Break, I pray Thee, break the minds of the congregation, so that every one of us may seek Thee with all the heart, as we go out from this house, in order that we may carry with us the impression of the Spirit of God. Help, oh, help us to be converted, that the light of heaven may come into our minds and our souls, and that we may have something to say in honor of Jesus, to glorify His name upon the earth.
Oh God, put a message upon the lips of Thy servants. Bless Elder Haskell; bless his wife who has been laboring with him; and I pray Thee that Thou wouldst bless the other laborers in this community. May Thy blessing rest upon Brother Rice and his wife, as they are trying to clear the way and to do all the good they can in their necessity. We plead with Thee that whatever mistakes may have been made, they shall all be taken out of the way. And we believe that they have been; because Thou hast given me a message for them to take their position in the church. Thou hast declared that they are amenable to Thee. They are not amenable to any arbitrary human domination, but they are Thy servants, to do Thy will. I pray Thee, my heavenly Father, that Thou wouldst give them a fitting up, so that they shall not labor under the discouragement that some have tried to bring upon them here. Thou hast sent me with a message for them, and I ask Thee, my heavenly Father, to encircle them in the arms of Thy mercy and to love them freely.
O heavenly Father, I ask Thee that the angel of the Lord before whom Joshua the high priest is represented as standing while the enemy accuses the sinner of his defiled garments—may this angel vouchsafe his presence unto us this afternoon. Thou didst turn to Satan, and say, “The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?” And to those who accused the sinner, the angel said, “Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquities to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.” And he added: “Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by.”
Satan is trying to fix upon every one that he can influence all the discouragement possible. Lord, I pray Thee, let the baptism of the Holy Spirit come into this congregation. I pray Thee, for Christ’s sake, to sweep back the mist and the cloud that Satan interposes here. He is here; his followers are here; there are those here who are listening to his words; and I ask Thee, Lord, to break the spell; I ask Thee that there may be such marked consecration before God, that Christ can say, “I will clothe thee with change of raiment.”
Oh God, we want raiment without a spot; we want garments without a stain; we want a preparation to do a grand, a great, a holy work that must be done. We pray Thee that Thou wouldst work mightily, so that the salvation of God shall be revealed. Thou hast a whole heaven of blessing that Thou art waiting to pour out upon a people who are ready to receive it and use it. Oh, all heaven is full of Thy graciousness and Thy pardon, which we may receive abundantly if we will only come to Thee and repent and be converted.
My Lord and my God, I ask Thee to carry through the reformation that is to be done in this place, and the reformation that is to be done in the different meetingplaces in this community. Let the salvation of God be revealed. My Saviour, my Saviour, Thou art inviting: Thou art waiting for them to come, so that Thou canst say, “Thy sins be forgiven thee; go, and sin no more.” May the healing power of God come upon body and soul. My Father, my Father, I ask Thee for Christ’s sake to come into the midst of us, and break the terrible power of darkness, and let souls go free, and Thy blessed name shall have all the glory. Amen.
As the congregation arose, Sister White said: “Let us sing, ‘Jesus Lover of My Soul.’ Sing it with all your heart.”