I have to admit it has been a long time since I have seen anything noteworthy on SDANET. But this post is rather stunning. SDANET has had a discussion on the ordination credentials of Ellen White, which they have posted on their at issues page here. A person inquired of the White Estate if Ellen White had been ordained. The answer was no she was not ordained though she was given the ordination credentials probably because they were the highest recognition the church could give since they did not have "prophet credentials". Of course the whole reason that most Traditional SDA's don't want women's ordination is because of the Biblical prohibition against women having authority over men. What an amazing disconnect! A prophet even a female prophet would have far more authority over men than an ordained Pastor (assuming the definition used by Adventists where a prophet is defined like an Old Testament prophet see funamental belief 18). But read for yourself William Fagal, Associate Director Ellen G. White Estate as he proves that logic is for others, not the White Estate.
Dear Brother Mutambirwa,
Thank you for contacting the Ellen G. White Estate. Mrs. White was not an
ordained minister, though she was granted the credentials of an ordained
minister, which sometimes results in confusion on this point. From 1871
onward various organizations in the church issued her ministerial
credentials (typically they were valid for two years at a time, so they
needed to be renewed). The printed form for such credentials says that
so-and-so (fill in the blank) is an ordained minister of the Seventh-day
Adventist church. I'm sure this has led some people honestly to conclude
that she was ordained. But in some cases on Mrs. White's credentials, the
word "ordained" was neatly struck out. In 1909 a "Biographical Information
Blank" that Mrs. White filled out for the General Conference asked "If
ordained, state where, when, and by whom." Her answer on this line was an
X, the same answer that appears on the question about remarriage. She had
not remarried after her husband's death, and neither had she ever been
So why was she given the credentials of an ordained minister? I can only
guess, but my guess is that the church wished to recognize her contribution
officially. It had no "prophet's credentials" (and it still doesn't), so it
gave her the highest credentials it had, recognizing that they were not a
perfect fit (hence the occasional crossing out of "ordained"). She never
functioned as an ordained minister--never baptized, officiated at communion
services or marriages, organized or disbanded churches, presided at business
meetings of the church, etc. In her prophetic role, she functioned for more
than 25 years (1844-1871) without any credentials at all.
I hope this will help to resolve the question for you. Let me know if I may
be of further service. Thank you for writing, and God bless!
Ellen G. White Estate
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600 U.S.A.
Phone: 301 680-6550
FAX: 301 680-6559
See also Bille Burdick response to Fagal's letter here.