Ellet Joseph Waggoner—his very name resonates with controversy. Over the years he withstood severe opposition from some prominent Adventist leaders and enjoyed hearty commendation from others. He received both stern rebuke and emphatic support from Ellen White. His theological contributions shaped—and divided—the Adventist Church. His staunch admirers point to him as a defender of unpopular truth, while his detractors reject his doctrinal views as heresy.
But who was E. J. Waggoner, the man?
Waggoner was first a physician, but his career veered into full-time denominational ministry only a few years after his graduation. In the space of his industrious lifetime he served the Adventist Church as a prolific writer, dedicated editor, faithful pastor, innovative evangelist, gifted teacher, stalwart religious liberty activist, and, most notably, outspoken advocate of “Christ and His righteousness.”
His theology underwent a perilous transformation later in his life, however, and this compromised his ethics. Sadly, the ensuing scandal proved the downfall of a once fervently devoted laborer for Christ.