Desire of Ages
by Ellen White
Ellen Gould White (ne Harmon) (November 26, 1827 - July 16, 1915), born to Robert and Eunice Harmon, was an American Christian leader whose prophetic ministry was instrumental in founding the Sabbatarian Adventist movement that led to the rise of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Supporters of Ellen G. White regard her as a modern-day prophet, even though she never claimed this title for herself. Support for her prophetic role is usually expressed in the language that she exhibited the spiritual gift of prophecy as outlined in the New Testament. Adventists do not consider this to conflict with the Reformation principle Sola Scriptura ("by scripture alone"), because the Bible is believed to be superior to her writings and the Bible teaches that one of the gifts to the church is the gift of prophecy. Her restorationist writings showcase the hand of God in Seventh-day Adventist history. This cosmic conflict, referred to as the "great controversy theme", is foundational to the development of Seventh-day Adventist theology. Her involvement with other Sabbatarian Adventist leaders, such as Joseph Bates and her husband James White, would create a nucleus of believers around which a core group of shared beliefs would emerge. Ellen White believed that at the close of earth's history Jesus Christ would return to this earth to gather His people and take them to heaven. White was a controversial figure even within her own lifetime. She claimed to have received a vision soon after the Millerite Great Disappointment. In the context of many other visionaries, she was known for her conviction and fervent faith. Randall Balmer has described her as "One of the more important and colorful figures in the history of American religion". White is the most translated female non-fiction author in the history of literature, as well as the most translated American non-fiction author of either gender. Her writings covered theology, evangelism, Christian lifestyle, education and health (she also advocated vegetarianism). She was a leader who emphasized education and health, and promoted the establishment of schools and medical centers. During her lifetime she wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books; but today, including compilations from her 50,000 pages of manuscript, more than 100 titles are available in English. Some of her more popular books include Steps to Christ, The Desire of Ages, and The Great Controversy. Seventh-day Adventists believe she experienced over 2,000 visions.
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