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The Ellen White Research Project: Exposing the Subtle Attack on the Bible's Authority
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Color Key

Words that are exactly the same in both Ellen White's book and the alleged source.

Words that are similar, not exactly the same.

Words that are the same or similar, but which appear to be copied from the Bible.

The actual comparisons found in Cleveland's book

Inadequate use of ellipses, and changed capitalization or wording.

Borrowing from Conybeare and Howson: An Analysis

Distortion #7: The Only "Evidence" for the Lawsuit

The only alleged evidence we have ever been able to get from a critic to support Canright's 1919 charge of a threatened lawsuit over Ellen White's 1883 book is alleged testimony from General Conference President A. G. Daniells at the 1919 Bible Conference. If the purported minutes are authentic, which they are supposed to be, then all Daniells' testimony suggests is that he had read Canright's book of that very year, and thought Canright to be a credible source of information.

But consider what Daniells said, which Sydney Cleveland quotes on page 18. An immediate problem is apparent:

A. G. Daniells: Yes; and now take that "Life of Paul,"—I suppose you all know about it and know what claims were put up against her, charges made of plagiarism, even by the authors of the book, Conybeare and Howson, and were liable to make the denomination trouble because there was so much of their book put into "The Life of Paul" without any credit or quotation marks. Some people of strict logic might fly the track on that ground, but I am not built that way. I found it out, and I read it with Brother Palmer when he found it, and we got Conybeare and Howson, and we got Wylie's "History of the Reformation," and we read word for word, page after page, and no quotations, no credit, and really I did not know the difference until I began to compare them.—"Inspiration of the Spirit of Prophecy as Related to the Inspiration of the Bible," Aug. 1, 1919, pp. 17, 18.

Thus, in these 1919 Bible Conference Minutes, mysteriously lost until the 1970's, Daniells claims that Sketches is copied verbatim from Conybeare and Howson, "word for word, page after page." Yet if that were really the case, why didn't Cleveland quote parts of the books that really are word for word the same? Why refer instead, as in the comparison below, to parts of Conybeare from which only 5 out of 358 words (a measly 1.4%) are found in Sketches? Or is the truth of the matter that what Daniells allegedly said is an outright fib?

You decide.

Sketches from the Life of Paul
Ellen G. White, p. 58
Life and Epistles of Paul
Conybeare & Howson, pp. 171, 172
"The people listened to the words of Paul with manifest impatience."—p. 58. "They listened impatiently."—p. 171.  
5 out of 81 words are the same or similar, but not found in the Bible account. 5 out of about 358 words are the same or similar, but not found in the Bible account.

The people listened to the words of Paul with manifest impatience. Their superstition and enthusiasm had been so great in regard to the apostles that they were loth to acknowledge their error, and have their expectations and purposes thwarted. Notwithstanding the apostles positively denied the divinity attributed to them by the heathen, and Paul endeavored to direct their minds to the true God as the only object worthy of worship, it was still most difficult to turn them from their purpose.

This address held them listening, but they listened impatiently. Even with this energetic disavowal of his divinity, and this strong appeal to their reason, St. Paul found it difficult to disturb the Lycaonians from offering to him and Barnabas an idolatrous worship.4 There is no doubt that St. Paul was the speaker, and, before we proceed further in the narrative, we cannot help pausing to observe the essentially Pauline character which this speech manifests, even in so condensed a summary of its contents. It is full of undesigned coincidences in argument, and even in the expressions employed, with St. Paul's language in other parts of the Acts, and in his own Epistles. Thus, as here he declares the object of his preaching to be that the idolatrous Lystrians should [p. 172] "turn from these vain idols to the living God," so he reminds the Thessalonians how they, at his preaching, had "turned from idols to serve the living and true God."1 Again, as he tells the Lystrians that "God had, in the generations that were past, suffered the nations of the Gentiles to walk in their own ways;" so he tells the Romans that "God in His forbearance had passed over the former sins of men, in the times that were gone by;"2 and so he tells the Athenians,3 that "the past times of ignorance God had overlooked." Lastly, how striking is the similarity between the natural theology with which the present speech concludes, and that in the Epistle to the Romans, where, speaking of the Heathen, he says that atheists are without excuse; "for that which can be known of God is manifested in their hearts, God Himself having shown it to them. For His eternal power and Godhead, though they be invisible, yet are seen ever since the world was made, being understood by the works which He hath wrought."

4 Acts xiv. 18.

1 1 Thess. i. 9. The coincidence is more striking in the Greek, because the very same verb is used in each passage, and is intransitive in both.

2 Rom. iii. 25: the mistranslation of which in the Authorised Version entirely alters its meaning.

3 Acts xvii. 30.

For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God. (1 Th. 1:9)

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