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Home » Resources » Adventist Publications on Church-State Subjects » Spirit of Prophecy Counsels Relating To Church-State Relationships

Spirit of Prophecy Counsels Relating To Church-State Relationships

A compilation of Ellen G. White materials supplemented with illuminating statements of denominational leaders and significant General Conference Session actions.

Assembled for the Study of the Committee on Church-State Relationships, 1964

Digital Copyright © 2005, Ellen G. White Estate, Inc.

Reprinted By Permission

A Word From the Compilers

For seventy years, the administrators of the Seventh-day Adventist Church have been confronted with the question of the acceptance of tax exemptions, grants and gifts. The whole problem is one closely interwoven with the positions which the church has taken on the question of the separation of church and state.

The Lord, through His messenger, gave to this people in 1895 specific counsel touching on these points. The question of the acceptance of tax exemptions for our churches and for church properties and the question of the acceptance of a grant of 12,000 acres of land in Africa called forth these counsels in a practical setting. These counsels which gave guidance to church leaders in the middle 1890’s have often been referred to in meeting problems since that time which fall into the category of the acceptance of government grants.

At the request of the Chairman of a large committee on church-state relationships, this document presenting all the materials available from Ellen G. White which might have a bearing on the question has been assembled in the office of the Ellen G. White Estate. The White Estate was specifically requested to make the compilation full and complete as we deal with the larger question of church-state relationships as brought out through all of the E. G. White writings. This has led to the manuscript of nearly 200 pages. Unquestionably the full body of materials has a bearing on any one specific problem.

In the presentation of the matter of tax exemption and grants, the historical background has been provided from correspondence and Minutes, enabling the reader to know exactly what matters were before Ellen White at the time she wrote. Some may find the record seemingly too detailed and full. The questions, however, are large and involved, and the compilers felt that the members of the committee would appreciate all that might be available in the way of historical background. In the detailed presentation, sentiments, attitudes and positions as they relate to the questions are reflected. Inasmuch as this section constitutes the heart of the compilation, it has been run on colored stock so that it may be quickly identified.

No attempt has been made to bring into this compilation materials relating to Sunday legislation and the attitudes of Seventh-day Adventists to such legislation. This is a question by itself and a compilation in this area would be sizeable.

There are some matters which are thought to be somewhat related which have been introduced in the closing section such as the military draft, labor unions, etc.

The compilers had before them all available E. G. White materials consisting not only of the current books, but of periodical articles, out-of-print pamphlets, and the E. G. White manuscript files. It was Mrs. White’s expectation that her writings, left by her with the Board of Trustees, would continue to serve the church to the end of time. That this compilation may be of service to those who must deal with the presentday problems in the question of government grants is the sincere wish of the compilers.

Arthur L. White, Secretary
Ellen G. White Estate
Washington, D. C.
November 19, 1964