Jon A.Vannoy printed 1982
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p 1-3 -- CONTENTS
- on Sidebar
p 4 -- UNDER
. .There is no union between the Prince of light and the prince of
darkness, and there can be no union between their followers. When
Christians consented to unite with those who were but half converted
from paganism, they entered upon a path, which led farther and farther
from the truth. It required a desperate struggle for those who would
be faithful to stand firm against the deceptions and abominations
which were disguised in sacerdotal garments and introduced into the
church. The Bible was not accepted as
the standard of faith. The doctrine of religious freedom was termed
heresy, and its upholders were hated and proscribed. The faithful
few decided to dissolve all union with the apostate church. They saw
that separation was an absolute necessity if they would obey the word
of God. To secure peace and unity they were ready to make any
concession consistent with fidelity to God; but they felt that even
peace would be too dearly purchased at the sacrifice of principle.
If unity could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness,
then let there be difference, and even war."
--Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy,
p 5 -- When
I took up a copy of Under Which Banner and re-read it last October (1998),
I thought it might be of some worth to update it. After reading it,
I was taken aback when I realized how much had happened since its last
publication (1982) and how off the mark I was in some of my conclusions,
and especially how my own ideas have evolved. So this newer edition
- and much of it is new - is offered with the proviso that it be considered
tentative and that it's intent is to inspire independent thought and
examination. This revision is purely a result of my thinking - which
is subject to change - and should be considered in that light.
knowledge of truth demands change, but any change must rest on established
truth. Present truth is no different. The passage of time amends it.
As an example, the National Reform Movement of the 1870's - 1880's (5T
712) was a vehicle used in an attempt to bring about Sunday legislation
at the national level. It no longer exists. If the picture painted in
the Great Controversy proves true, something will bring that
event to pass; but the vehicle will be different than it was in 1870.
The principle will remain the same even though the circumstances change
with the passage of time.
Seventh-day Adventist organization/church, (as with all organizations)
has failed its task in the time allotted it. The work of spreading the
gospel by the "gentiles" is done, (J. E. White, The Coming
King, p. 98 on Luke 21:24) and though human probation has not closed,
the harvest has begun. Described herein is the reason for it's (the
Adventist Church) failure as I see it and can be summed up in this:
Church members -- Adventist and non-Adventist alike -- and their leaders
put their full reliance on man, against every plea, every warning to
do otherwise. The admonition, "cease ye from man whose breath is
in his nostrils," was completely disregarded by all "gentiles"
in their own time. As for Seventh-day Adventists, they are now left
to abhor the fruit of their own doing,
6 -- which they will do in the last fragment of time when they
are forced to face, in horror, what they have lost. There is no going
back, the die is cast, and those who are led of God will see that separation
is an absolute necessity. Spiritual separation precedes physical separation.
Satanic vehicle for the final domination of the earth is gaining in
power; all men are being offered cradle to the grave care by the all
powerful State - the offer will in time become compulsory. The choice
all people must make in the nearing final clash is between the tangible
and the intangible, between dependence on the State that guarantees
all human comfort, security and a safe haven; or on the other side,
an allegiance to a Being most of us have never seen or heard, who promises
certain things that are written in a book (but not by Him), that also
claims to be the sure, faithful, and true thing. On the surface God's
offer has the appearance of being not all that substantial and ultimately
promises to be the source of a great deal of difficulty. But those whom
He has chosen know that despite outward appearances, His way is to confound
the wise with the foolish.
to Christ, the cry of the French Reformation was, "crush the wretch;"
the modern state says no less. But man has a "religious" aspect
about him that he cannot deny, and even in this anti-Christian era,
that aspect needs to be expressed. And so, earth's people are expressing
this need through what can be summarized in the statement: "We
all must recognize our essential, universal, spiritual connectedness,"
and is seen in an unspoken agreement in the expressions of all the world's
religions, New Age - Aquarian Conspirators; all Biocentric - Environmentalists,
Gaiaists, Witches (black art and white art); Satanists; Humanists, staffers
of various governmental agencies (EPA, Fish and Wildlife Service, BLM,
US Forest Service etc.) and so on -- many supported in part by the large
foundations (Rockefeller Brothers Fund of New York, the Ford Foundation,
the Conservation Foundation of Washington, the Heartline Fund, etc.)
and various industrialist-philanthropists. It seems that everyone, "small
and great, rich and poor, highborn and servant," is involved.
those who are kept by the power of God, through faith in His word, the
whole world will be swept into the ranks of this delusion. The people
are fast being lulled to a fatal security, to be awakened only by the
outpouring of the wrath of God." -- GC 562.
list could go on and on; however, the point is, there is not a segment
of modern society, either religious or secular, that hasn't adopted
some variation of that single spiritualistic sentiment these differing
groups hold in common, and
7 -- SDAs are no exception. In all of it, Christ is the enemy.
said that the generation that saw the fulfilling of His words (Luke
21; Matt. 24; Mk. 13 - different aspects of the same theme) would see
"the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory."
Parse it as you will, it still means what it says.
Jerusalem was no longer controlled by nations (Gentiles), Christ said
there would be certain signs in the heavens that would indicate the
nearness of His coming. The accounts of Matthew and Mark are almost
identical: "But in those days, after that time of distress, (the
destruction of Jerusalem by Rome -- the abomination that makes desolate,
of which the prophet Daniel wrote) the sun will be darkened (not the
dark day of May 19, 1780 which was a regional phenomena), the moon will
not give its light, the stars (meteors/meteorites -- detritus that forms
a comets tail) will come falling out of the sky, (not the periodic Leonid
meteorite shower that occurred on Nov. 12, 1833) and the powers in the
heavens will be shaken." (the planets, as in E.W. p. 41)
Luke adds, "There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars;
on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the turmoil of the ocean and
its waves (similar to phenomena at the Exodus, remembered in Psalms
77: 14 - 19) men fainting away with terror and fear at what menaces
the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will
see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory."
This prediction is not a series of events occurring over a period of
years but one great, momentous cosmic event that will be a present sign
of deliverance to the chosen ("When these things begin to take
place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your redemption is
near at hand") and a harbinger of doom ("men fainting away
with terror and fear at what menaces the world") to the lost. Luke
21: 26, 27.
cosmic disaster coming upon planet earth, depicted by Christ as preceding
his return, could not have occurred before the complete fulfillment
of Luke 21:24 and is of such breadth and dimension so as to beggar the
comprehension of modern man. It is, by the way, not an isolated occurrence
in the history of the earth. There have been, in earlier times, periods
of similar cosmic catastrophes on a planet-wide scale, which have been
recorded not only in the bones of the earth and in the tales and legends
of earth's peoples, but in the sacred script as well. The last two events
occurred thirty-four (at the time of Moses and the Exodus and fifty
years later in the promised land as recorded in Joshua 10: 11-14) and
twenty-six centuries ago (somewhat before the Babylonian captivity)
and answer in a large way the planet-wide geological and paleontological
enigmas interpreted by science in terms of evolution (uniformity). The
real meaning of
8 -- the messages of the prophets Isaiah, Joel, Amos and others
are records of what actually took place during the last period of world
wide, cosmic upheaval. All such past events reveal the manner of earth's
future destruction and are a demonstration of the heretofore unimaginable
power and authority of the Great Architect of nature, Yahweh Sabaoth,
written in the KJV as the Lord of Hosts, Commander of the host of heaven
-- the "mighty ones" -- the planets. One ancient inscription,
marked in stone, and located on a high place, proclaimed: "Yahweh
is our mighty one." This was, no doubt, an expression of the time
when God was confused with the heavenly orbs and the reason the reform
minded prophets and kings ordered the destruction of "the high
places." Pre-exilic Israel and Judah were both astral-worshipers
- as were all of earth's people during those times. For His love of
Israel, all earth suffered the effects of the Creator's punishment because
of their idolatry. Isaiah 43: 1-4.
a man blessed with the extraordinary privilege of close, personal contact
with God, trembled in fear and terror at the scene on Sinai. God is
not a parlor magician limited to performing regional acts of illusion.
What occurred in Egypt and at the Mount of Law Giving was representative
of the planet wide catastrophe then taking place.
the discerning, Hebrews 12: 18 - 29 forewarns that the upheaval (verse
26) to come will be similar to what has occurred before (verses 18 -
21.) Peter said that the heavens will pass away with a great noise,
the earth and everything on it will melt with "fervent heat"
(2 Peter 3: 10.) Ellen G. White describes the final planet-wide cosmic
catastrophe in this way: "With shouts of triumph, jeering, and
imprecation, throngs of evil men are about to rush upon their prey,
when, lo, a dense blackness, deeper than the darkness of the night,
falls upon the earth [there must be great foreboding of this great cosmic
menace prior to its realization, hence men's hearts failing them in
fear and intense anger toward the elect who are seen as the cause] .
. . Everything in nature seems turned out of its course. The streams
cease to flow. Dark, heavy clouds come up and clash against each other.
In the midst of the angry heavens is one clear space of indescribable
glory, whence comes the voice of God like the sound of many waters,
saying, 'It is done.' "
voice shakes the heavens and the earth. There is a mighty earthquake,
'such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake,
and so great.' The firmament appears to open and shut. The glory from
the throne of God seems flashing through. The mountains shake like a
reed in the wind, and ragged rocks are scattered on every side. There
is a roar as of a coming tempest. The sea is lashed into fury. There
is heard the shriek of the hurricane,
9 -- like the voice of
demons upon a mission of destruction. The whole earth heaves and swells
like the waves of the sea. Its surface is breaking up. Its very foundations
seem to be giving way. Mountain chains are sinking. Inhabited islands
disappear." -- GC 635 - 637.
before all this happens, you will be seized and persecuted; you will
be handed over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and brought before
kings and governors for the sake of my name -- and that will be your
opportunity to bear witness. Make up your minds not to prepare your
defense, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that
none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict. You will
be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and
some of you will be put to death. You will be hated universally on account
of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your perseverance
will win you your lives." Luke 21: 12 - 19.
-- J. A. V. TOP
ONE -- UNDER
WHICH BANNER ? -- ROMANISM
IN THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH:
the intrusion of Roman Catholic thought and practice into the Seventh-day
Adventist Church is fascinating and at the same time disappointing,
particularly when one ponders what could have been but will never be.
The consequence of carrying Rome's baggage is real and everywhere present
among Adventists today. To understand the present condition of the Adventist
Church and the reasons for the existence of Roman thought and practice
within the organized work, one must understand why the Second Advent
movement appears to have failed its prophetic destiny. To begin
with, one must be able to grasp the fact that the Great Second Advent
Movement no longer exists. It has been replaced by a thing called, the
Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the two are not the same.
Second Advent Movement was of God. Its message, its motivating, driving
force, and its organization was because of Him. Human beings were the
10 -- not the originators, of that movement and it accomplished
only that which God wanted it to. But all of it, the totality of everything
that happened, was God's doing; and before the end there will be a revival
of primitive godliness, a thing not witnessed since apostolic
times, when His people will separate from the earth's religious organizations
-constrained by His Spirit to go forth and do His bidding.
the other hand, organizations are man's doing. They are formed by men
for the purposes of men - whatever those purposes may be. Church organizations
are no different though they claim a loftier purpose. Each of their
originators have alleged their organizations, at least at one time in
their histories, to be the repositories of God's truth; but at some
point in their existence the lofty perception is forgotten and the perpetuation
of organization, for the sake of organization, becomes the all pervading
purpose. Men organize in God's name; they originate, give impetus to,
then perpetuate, and call it "God's work."
was the fate of the Second Advent Movement after the passing of time
in 1844. Twenty years passed and the few who remained true to the original
ideal, seeing through human eyes, probably sensing a need to hold things
together organized along human lines; and the explicitness, yet simplicity,
of the Movement became a highly organized, legal, formal, religious
-- the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The relentless grip of men would
increase over those sincerely interested in relying on God's direction
in His work, to the point where God was moved aside and men came to
rely on other men, as we shall see.
year 1888 was a watershed year in the twenty-five year old church. Matters
concerning God had steadily eroded into a condition where the stamp
of man was wholly on what was believed to be His work. The church's
crisis was compounded by a crisis on the national scene that directly
involved the message of the third angel. In a Review
article dated Dec. 11, 1888, E. G. White wrote of the attitude in the
church toward the whole matter: "A
great crisis awaits the people of God. Very soon our nation will attempt
to enforce upon all, the observance of the first day of the week as
a sacred day. In doing this, they will not scruple to compel men against
the voice of their own conscience to observe the day the nation declares
to be the Sabbath. In view of this, there must be, among God's commandment-keeping
people, more spirituality and a deeper consecration to God and a zeal
in His work that has never yet been reached, to hold aloft the banner
of God's truth."
11 -- Speaking
more directly of the proposed Sunday legislation (the proposed Blair
Amendment to the U. S. Constitution) then before the U. S. Congress,
she continued: "Should
our nation abjure the principles of Protestantism to give countenance
and sanction to the Sunday law, they will in this act join hands with
popery; for it will be nothing else than giving life to the tyranny
which has been eagerly waiting and watching its opportunity to spring
into active despotism. And now, as this evil is on the point of realization,
it is the business of all believers in the Bible to arouse."
then directed her words to the Seventh-day Adventists who were remarkably
indifferent to what was happening around them, and were apparently content
to remain so: "For
years many have sat in calm expectation of this event; and they will
not be working out the purposes of God if they comfort themselves with
the thought that what is to come will come, and anything that they may
do will not prevent it. They should not settle down in an easy, comfortable
indolence, thinking that God will shelter his own people in the day
of this calamity. This is the time for action, not for indolence and
spiritual stupor. Satan is preparing his forces with a power from beneath;
and all heaven is in busy activity, ready to work in the interests of
those who are awake to the condition of things, and like faithful sentinels,
are doing all they can to arouse the people to avert, if possible, the
threatened evil." -- Ibid.
is significant to see from the previous statement that heaven will work,
only with those who are awake to the condition of things around them.
Her next comment should be even more sobering: "If
our people continue in the listless attitude in which they have been,
God cannot pour upon them His spirit. They are unprepared to
cooperate with Him. They do not realize the threatened danger and are
not awake to the situation . . .
peculiar work of the third angel has not been seen in its importance.
God meant that His people should be far in advance of what they are
today. . . .It is not in the order of God that light has been kept from
our people, -- the very present truth which they needed for this time.
12 -- of our ministers who are giving the third angel's
message really understand what constitutes that message. The National
Reform Movement has been regarded by some as of so little importance
that they have not thought it necessary to give much attention to it,
and have even felt that in so doing, they would be giving time to questions
distinct from the third angel's message. What interpretation do they
give to the passage which says, ' "An angel descended from heaven,
and the earth was lightened with his glory?" ' This is not a time
when we can be excused for inactivity. If this work, which was so essential,
had been taken up by our ministers, there would be today a far different
state of things in all our churches." -- (Emphasis supplied)
day Adventists are in a far worse condition spiritually than those who
preceded them. The mistakes and attitudes then exhibited and which were
perpetuated are responsible for the downward spiral that has destroyed
the heart of their message. SDA history is reflected upon by minds veiled
and clouded, with no true knowledge of the events that have gone on
before. Prophecy is viewed as something that has taken place in the
past or will take place in the future, but never in the present. Adventists
are so far removed from the firmness of their past history that they
teach and preach other things. They entertain euphorisitic ideals of
greatness -- of a world movement -- but when reality is faced, their
organization has the distinct appearance of just another ecclesiastical
empire and they tout the whole thing as God's doing.
reviewing the progress of the Great Second Advent Movement in fulfilling
the divine path set for it, thus far the progress it has achieved is
short of the mark. Adventists boast of their achievements and bolster
those achievements with statistical reports detailing their phenomenal
progress, but the fact cannot be set aside that they are out of sync
with their "historic" divine commission. Denominational expansion
has superseded ideals that SDA's have always considered their divinely
ordered assignment, to proclaim the Three Angels' Messages. With this
there is a portion of these messages that has gone unnoticed, which
is the part of the whole that enables individuals to comply with its
entirety, and it is, rightly, contained in the first message. Seventh-day
Adventists emphasize the portion of the message that says: ". .
. for the hour of His judgment is come . . ." but the importance
of the message is, "Fear
God and give glory to Him . . .worship Him . . ."
the originator and sustainer of all that is.
question is, why would these messages start with such an admonition
unless humanity was doing otherwise? So attention is directed to first
recognize and give God, the Creator and Sustainer, what is due Him --
allegiance first and
13 -- foremost, since the whole of humanity has never known what
it is to be in allegiance to God, which is the purpose of the three
messages -- a final appeal to them to seek their only
real security with the Source of it before it is eternally too late.
was a time when Adventists, for the most part, recognized the Loud Cry
as that which offers God as the highest good to all mankind, in opposition
to man's striving to make
himself secure; and it gives all who embrace it perfect freedom.
The freedom offered is freedom of conscience, of the moral sense to
know what is good, truthful, and honest; it guarantees those who understand
and embrace it freedom from the rules, regulations, unlawful authority
and traditions of men. That freedom enables them to divinely fathom
the concept that all things come from God; all things are God's, and
it is God who must direct moment by moment in each life.
creation belongs to God. The Lord could, by neglecting man, stop his
breath at once. All that he is and all that he has pertains to God.
The entire world is God's. Man's houses, his personal acquirements,
whatever is valuable or brilliant, is God's own endowment. " --
E. G. White Manuscript 36, 1890 TOP
1888 MESSAGE -- THE NEED FOR REFORM: The
record of failure of the church in 1888 to give the Loud Cry, "Fear
God and give glory to Him," and assenting to its soundness, but
failing to weave its principles into the work, is validated by the many
testimonies given in an attempt to set right that which had gone wrong.
The few who embraced that message were overwhelmed by the majority who
were caught up in the mechanics of the denomination's Organizational
machinery that had become the accepted way for carrying on the work
of God; and in adopting such an attitude, they placed the Organizational
machinery in the place of God. Referring to that E.
G. White wrote: "The
steady progress of our work, and our increased facilities are filling
the hearts and minds of many of our people with satisfaction and pride,
which we fear will take the place of the first love of God in the soul.
Busy activity in the mechanical part of even the work of God may so
occupy the mind that prayer shall be neglected; and self-importance
and self-sufficiency, so ready to urge their way, shall take the place
of true goodness, meekness, and lowliness of heart." 4T,
p. 535 (1881)
14 -- Eighteen
years after the church had been formally organized, its work was seen
to be progressing at more than a satisfactory rate in all fields. A
willingness to labor was expressed, and activity could be found everywhere.
Even though the work seemed,
on the surface, to be progressing smoothly, with the Lord's blessing,
in reality there lurked a condition which had supplanted God and which
could not be allowed to exist if the church was to be an organ for spreading
the Three Angel's Messages to the world.
are more ready for active labor than for humble devotion, more ready
to embrace in outward religious service than in the inner work of the
heart. Meditation and prayer are neglected for bustle and show."
solution to the problem was, not to rely on the form and mechanical
operation of organization, but depend completely upon the Spirit and
power of God. "Not by might, nor by power, but by my
Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts." -- Zech. 4: 6
REMEDY FOR A SICK CHURCH:
to rely on organization waxed stronger despite repeated entreaties by
Ellen G. White: "Now
it has been Satan's determined purpose to eclipse the view of Jesus
and lead men to look to man, and trust to man, and be educated to expect
help from man. For years the church has been looking to man and expecting
much from man, but not looking to Jesus, in whom our hopes of eternal
life are centered. Therefore, God gave to His servants a testimony that
presented the truth as it is in Jesus, which is the third angle's message,
in clear, distinct lines." -- TM p. 93.
at the 1888 General Conference held in Minneapolis, God, in an unanticipated
way, offered the solution to the problem of man's dependence upon man.
It came not through the "duly constituted leadership" -- the
status quo, but from an unexpected and, as it turned out, unwelcome
Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through
Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently
before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of
the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety;
it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which
is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God."
-- TM 91, 92.
15 -- Again,
the reason was: "Many
had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to
His divine person." Ibid. Ellen White continued to
identify the message: "All
power is given into his hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto
men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless
human agent. This is the third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed
with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in
a large measure." -- TM p. 92.
then presented the "matchless charms" of Christ as the only
remedy for the self-reliant Adventists.
uplifted Saviour is to appear in His efficacious work as the Lamb slain
sitting upon the throne, to dispense the priceless covenant blessings,
the benefits He died to purchase for every soul who should believe on
Him. John could not express that love in works; it was too deep, too
broad; he calls upon the human family to behold it. Christ is pleading
for those for whom He paid the redemption price of His own blood. Centuries,
ages cannot diminish the efficacy of this atoning sacrifice. The message
of the gospel of His grace was to be given to the church in clear distinct
lines that the world should no longer say that Seventh-day Adventists
talk the law, the law, but do not teach or believe Christ." --
is the testimony that must go throughout the length and breadth of the
world. It presents the law and the gospel, binding the two in a perfect
whole." -- Ibid. p. 94.
this testimony and others like it are read, only words are seen; and
if by chance they happen to be conceptualized, it is done so within
the narrow, limits of human prejudice. When it was written that, "All
power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto
[not imputing] the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless
human agent . . ." no mark is made on the mind as to the infinite
possibilities that are freely offered and are there for the taking --with
no strings attached, but the offer is rejected for the tangible, for
what appears as the sure, human way of doing things. Union with the
divine is passed by for human "know-how" and "can-do."
16 -- NATURE OF THE OPPOSITION -- REJECTION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:
was no flaw in the message given, no weakness that would serve to invalidate
it, so the message itself was not criticized directly -- but the messengers
have turned from the message of the righteousness of Christ to criticize
the men and their imperfections, because they do not speak the message
of truth with all the grace and polish desirable." -- RH,
May 27, 1890.
was held that because of the "rough exteriors" of the messengers,
especially Jones, their message was not acceptable.
no soul complain of the servants of God who have come to them with a
heaven-sent message. Do not any longer pick flaws in them, saying, '
They talk too positive; they talk too strongly.' They may talk strongly;
but is it not needed?"
do not dishonor your God and grieve His Holy Spirit by casting reflections
on the ways and manners of the men He would choose. . . .He sees the
temperament of the men He has chosen. He knows that none but earnest,
firm, determined, strong-feeling men will view this work in its vital
importance, and will put such firmness and decision into their testimonies
that they will make a break against the barriers of Satan." --
TM pp. 410-413 (1898)
criticism of God's men was expressed openly throughout the denomination.
But the real motives for rejecting the message were never actually exhibited
openly. The leadership was determined to maintain "the old truths"
in opposition to the new light. The effects of such actions were far
more serious than was supposed.
one must be permitted to close the avenue whereby the light to truth
shall come to the people. As soon as this shall be attempted, God's
Spirit will be quenched." -- Ms. 15, (1888)
Spirit of God is departing from many among His people. Many have entered
into dark, secret paths, and some will never return. They will continue
to stumble to their ruin. They have tempted God, they have rejected
light. All the evidence that will ever be given them they have received,
and have not heeded. . .Yet many have listened to the truth
17 -- spoken in demonstration of the Spirit, and they have
not only refused to accept the message, but they have hated the light.
These men are parties to the ruin of souls. They have interposed themselves
between the heaven-sent light and the people. They have trampled upon
the Word of God and are doing despite to His Holy Spirit." -- TM
pp. 90-91, (1896) TOP
REAL MOTIVE -- PRESERVATION OFAUTHORITY:
foremost in denouncing the messengers -- therefore the message -- were
predominately in positions of leadership.
Twenty years ago God sent to the Seventh-day Adventist denomination
the message of the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus
Christ, to deliver them from any appearance of liability to the charge
of legalism. This righteousness of God, which is by faith, was then
treated with contempt by the administration of the organized work of
the denomination. By the then president of the General Conference, it
was flouted as ' the much vaunted doctrine of justification by faith.'
At Minneapolis, at the 1888 General Conference, the administration did
its very best to have the denomination committed by a vote of the General
Conference to the covenant of 'Obey and Live,' to righteousness by works.
The attempt failed then; but from that day till this, that spirit and
that element have never ceased the endeavor; though when they found
that they could not accomplish it just then, they apparently and professedly
accepted righteousness by faith. But they never did accept it in the
truth that it is. They never did accept it as life and righteousness
from God; but only a "doctrine" to be put on a list or strung
on a string with "other doctrines," and preached as a "subject,"
with other doctrinal subjects." -- A. T. Jones, The Everlasting
Gospel of God's Everlasting Covenant, p. 31.
reasons for such hostility must be considered in view of the absence
of freedom of conscience within the organized work. Acceptance of the
1888 message meant a complete reassessment of the principles through
which the work had come to be directed. The many doing the work were
answerable to the few in positions of control, and the work, progressing
rapidly as it seemed to be doing, was, in actuality, bogging down.
in His dispute with the Jewish leadership rejected their form of worship,
denouncing it as a religion of their own making. Such worship could
18 -- one to God. He accused them of teaching for doctrine the
commandments of men, being more interested in maintaining their authority
over the people -- preserving the religion and the nation -- than in
teaching God's truth.
was little difference between the problem God sought to correct among
Adventists in 1888 and that among the Jews two thousand years ago. The
papacy operates by the same principles. As a result, organizational
leadership essentially holds the keys to heaven and hell in the minds
of those who conform to various forms of religious practice. Rome claims
the prerogative of God -- the power to bind the individual conscience.
Outward compliance to religious fiat is held up as proof of individual
fidelity to the codified ideals of denominational Organization, no matter
which denomination. Humanity, as a result, becomes anesthetized to the
prompting and directing of God's Spirit.
is not natural for man to worship God. He has no predilection to worship
in accordance with God's directing, and because of this disposition,
man's own idea of worship is locked into the minds of other men. The
same evil disposition encouraged the formation of the papacy, and Roman
principles are not limited to Rome. Popery represents the natural course
of man and will exist in any church if allowed. Ellen G. White encountered
the same problem among Adventists throughout her entire ministry.
intolerance toward freedom of conscience in the church, and the despotic
proclivity of those in positions of trust, have plagued the visible 1
church throughout the ages. Now, the message that was to go to
the world, to draw its people into an awareness of their need of Christ
as their highest good, to bring them away from worship of their own
devising, to encourage them to recognize and place their whole reliance
upon the Originator and Sustainer of all that is, came to the very ones
who were themselves to bear the message. They needed to be put right
and brought to worship in the manner of God's own choosing. They, too,
needed to come to depend upon God's unlimited ability to literally do
years the church has been looking to man, and expecting much from man,
but not looking to Jesus, in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered."
-- TM p. 93.
There is one church only and it is not visible in the sense of this
world's visible religious organizations. The tendency of a few to lord
it over their brethren does not and cannot occur in the true, as yet
19 -- "Let
me entreat our state conferences and our churches to cease putting their
dependence upon man and making flesh their arm. Look not to other men
to see how they conduct themselves under the conviction of the truth
. . . Our churches are weak because the members are educated to look
to and depend upon human recourses." -- Ibid.,
years there has been a growing tendency for men placed in positions
of responsibility to lord it over God's heritage, thus removing from
church members the keen sense of the need of divine instruction
and appreciation of the privilege to counsel with God regarding their
duty." -- Ibid. , pp. 477, 488.
strange thing has come into our
churches. Men who are in positions of responsibility, that they may
be wise helpers to their fellow workers, have come to suppose that they
were set as kings and rulers in the churches, to say to one brother,
do this; to another, do that; and to another, be sure to labor in such
and such a way. There have been places where the workers have been told
that if they did not follow the instruction of these men of responsibility,
their pay from the conference would be withheld." Ibid.
, p. 477, 488.
then, was at the heart of the matter. The 1888 message was to establish
freedom of conscience in the hearts and minds of the Advent people.
How could they carry a message to the world if it was a thing foreign
to them? Not only were God's people to come into working order as expressed
in the ideal of
the message, but it was to show in its practical application as well.
last four statements show that: 1. The
church had lost sight of Jesus, and in doing so had lost their first
love. 2. As a result of losing sight
of Christ, the church had to look to herself for authority in the form
of her leadership. To fill the void, she laid hold of the "arm
of flesh" and embarked upon a course that took her farther and
farther from the reason for her existence. 3. This
had the evil effect of bringing to the surface that which lurks in many
of us -- the desire to compel and control the reason (and if not the
reason, at least the actions) of others. 4.
The end result was the assumption of those in positions of trust to
feel that they were authority personified; and they acted as "kings
and rulers" over their brethren. Economic regiment was imposed
to assure the subjection of their brethren to themselves. It was a text
book lesson in how to overrule the Spirit of God and crush freedom of
20 -- Rejection
of the 1888 message revealed an aversion and a refusal of those in positions
of trust to give God control. Christ is the only safe guide for the
conscience. God's Holy Spirit must be allowed to develop the religious
conscience and direct each member of Christ's body. Christ is the Head
of His Church; He is the motivating force directing each member in edification
of His body.
we individually realize our true position, that as God's hired servants
we are not to bargain away our stewardship? We have an individual accountability
before the heavenly universe to administer the trust committed to us
of God. Our own hearts are to be stirred. Our hands are to have something
to impart of the income that God entrusts to us. The humblest of us
may be agents for God, using our gifts for His name's glory." --
TM p. 362
goodness, mercy, and love of God were proclaimed by Christ to Moses.
This was God's character. When men who profess to serve God ignore His
parental character and depart from honor and righteousness in dealing
with their fellowmen, Satan exults, for he has inspired them with his
attributes. They are following in the track of Romanism." --
who are enjoined to represent the attributes of the Lord's character
step from the Bible platform, and in their own human judgment devise
rules and resolutions to force the will of others. The devisings for
forcing men to follow the prescriptions of other men are instituting
an order of things that overrides sympathy and tender compassion, that
blinds the eyes to mercy, justice, and the love of God. Moral influence
and personal responsibility are trodden underfoot." -- Ibid.
righteousness of Christ by faith has been ignored by some; for it is
contrary to their spirit and their whole life experience. Rule, rule,
has been their course of action." -- Ibid. p. 363.
any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all liberally,
and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." Mercy and love
and wisdom are to be found in God; but many who profess to know Him
have turned from the One in whom our hope of eternal life is centered
and have educated themselves to depend upon their erring and fallible
fellowmen. They are crippled spiritually when they do this; for no man
is infallible, and his influence may be misleading. He who trusts in
man not only leans upon a broken reed and gives Satan an opportunity
21 -- introduce himself, but he becomes lifted in his estimation
of himself and loses the sense of his dependence upon God. Just as soon
as man is placed where God should be, he loses his purity, his vigor,
his confidence in God's power. Moral confusion results, because his
powers become unsanctified and perverted. He feels competent to judge
his fellowmen, and he strives unlawfully to be a god over them."
-- Ibid. p. 376.
NEED FOR REORGANIZATION -- REORGANIZATION
in 1896 from Cooranbong,
Australia, E. G. White set
the tenor of the time. The message is addressed to the leading
brethren in America: "Oh
if I could have the joyful news that the wills and minds of those in
Battle Creek who have stood professedly as leaders, were emancipated
from the teachings and slavery of Satan, whose captives they have been
for so long, I would be willing to cross the broad Pacific to see your
faces once more. But I am not anxious to see you with enfeebled perceptions
and clouded minds because you have chosen darkness rather than light."
-- TM p. 396.
repeating what may seem as material already covered, it is important
to know that in the above mentioned counsel was instruction on the various
points by which reform would come.
Lord has placed no man as judge, either of the pen or voice of God's
workmen . . .Suppose the statements of others do not agree with our
ideas. Shall we, for this, pronounce them heresy? Shall we, uninspired
men, take the responsibility of placing our stakes, and saying, 'This
shall not appear in print?' . . . Will we ever realize that the consciences
of men are not given into our command? If you have appointed committees
to do the work which has been going on for years in Battle Creek, dismiss
them; and remember that God, the infinite God, has not placed men in
any such positions as they occupied at Minneapolis, and have occupied
since then." -- TM pp. 293-295.
sad my heart aches to see presidents of conferences taking the burden
of selecting those whom they think they can mold to work with them in
the field. They take those who will not differ with them, but will act
like mere machines. No president has any right to do this . . . Many
presidents of state conferences do not attend to that which is their
work -- to see that the elders and deacons of the churches do their
work in the
22 -- churches, by seeing that a faithful tithe is brought
into the treasury." -- Ibid. pp. 304-305
arrangement that all money must go through Battle Creek and under the
control of the few men in that place is a wrong way of managing. There
are altogether too many weighty responsibilities given to a few men,
and some do not make God their counselor. " -- Ibid.
churches would realize one hundredfold more of the workings of the Holy
Spirit if ministers would educate all to bear in mind that they have
a God nigh at hand, and not afar off, and that they can honor God by
seeking Him for help and wisdom just where they are. They will then
have ability which will strengthen the General Conference." --
Ibid. p. 326
popish strand can be seen throughout the whole, centering on the same
problem -- man asserting himself over his fellowman, man taking the
place of God, man hostile toward freedom of conscience and individuality
in religion. It was the penchant of many in leadership positions to
impose upon those they considered to be subject to them the dictates
of their own wills. Anyone whose thoughts conflicted with the plans
of the leadership were not considered; in fact, questions were raised
as to their faithfulness -- not to the truth, but to the Organization
and its leadership. Those who would not differ with them were chosen
because they would move with machine-like precision at command.
control of those in positions of trust, who were convinced they were
to be guides of the whole, only served to confuse the work God wanted
done. Inspired counsel continually appealed to the workers in all positions
not to depend on their fellowmen but rather look to God as their source
of strength, the only one able to effectively coordinate His work.
those who claim to be of the Remnant people place their trust in something,
or someone, other than God, they have, in truth, violated the first
commandment. Can they, then, justly claim to be God's commandment-keeping
people? If they are not keeping the commandments, how can they say they
have the faith of Jesus? And how are such a people ever to be able to
give what they claim to be their divine commission -- the Loud Cry?
Will their unfaithfulness force God to wait until they come to their
senses before He allows last day events to proceed? Did he wait for
ancient Israel or Judah or the Jews of Christ's time to "come into
working order" before He allowed events to proceed? Or have the
"nations," Seventh-day Adventists included, been allotted
a proscribed measure of time and when that time has run its course,
will other measures come
23 -- into play? Is God waiting for Seventh-day Adventists, in
their present organized condition, to come to "obedience"
before He orders the return of Christ? God waits for no one, and the
person who thinks that God is waiting for humanity does not understand
the prophecies of Daniel nor has he read Luke 21: 20-28. TOP
1901 GENERAL CONFERENCE SESSION -- A VERY SHORT PERIOD OF REORGANIZATION:
for the free development of the work under the guidance of the Spirit
of God continued to worsen after the Minneapolis meeting. It is the
burden of the book, Testimonies to Ministers, to reprove Adventist
church leadership for oppressing their brethren and for the disunity
and disorganization brought into the work by their policies.
the Organizational machinery was humming along it had become so man
centered and corrupt that the only way left to salvage it was to completely
overturn and reorganize it along the lines revealed in 1888. For there
to be change, reformation would have to occur on a denominational-wide
basis, from top to bottom, involving every phase of the work.
an unedited pre-session presentation in the library of Battle Creek
College during the 1901 General Conference Session E. G. White, again
as in 1897, stressed the need for reorganization. After the session
was called to order and opened for business, Mrs. White was recognized
to address the assembled brethren. She appealed to them to do the things
that should have been done "years ago, especially ten years ago,"
when they were assembled in Conference, when the Spirit of power came
into their meeting testifying that God was ready to work for His people
if they would come into "working order."
brethren assented to the light God had given; but there were those connected
with our institutions, especially with the Review and Herald office
and the Conference, who brought in elements of unbelief, so that the
light that was given was not acted upon. It was assented to, but no
special change was made to bring about such a condition of things that
the power of God could be revealed among His people.
after year the same acknowledgment was made, but the principles which
exalt a people were not woven into the work. God gave them clear light
as to what they should do and what they should not do, but they departed
from that light; and it is a marvel to me that we stand in as much prosperity
as we do today. It is because of the great mercy of our God,
24 -- not because of our righteousness, but that His name
should not be dishonored in the world." -- EGW, 1901 General
Conference Bulletin, p. 23.
presenting the Christian's inheritance from the first chapter of Peter,
she continued: "To
gain this inheritance, you must be incorruptible and undefiled. You
are not to be perverted in any way from the straight lines which God
has laid down." -- Ibid.
she asked the question: "Why,
I ask you, are men who have not brought self into subjection allowed
to stand in important positions of truth and handle sacred things? They
have grown to the stature of men, but they have brought with them their
childish tendencies. God does not want any such thing. He has made provision
for all to have in them the grace of Christ. No others will enter heaven.
There has been one rebellion there, and there will not be another. We
have been given an opportunity to get rid of every kind of rebellion.
of you have been educating yourselves to talk with human beings instead
of talking with God. You have built up barriers against the principles
that should have been carried into every part of the Lord's vineyard.
. .There are those here that have traditions, and they stand just as
the Pharisees stood. Notwithstanding, they may say that unity and love,
compassion and tenderness are correct principles; yet in their own line
of practice they cling to the old traditions.' You are to stand by the
old traditions,' they say. But what we want is God's traditions. We
want to have the living principles of heaven brought into our lives.
-- Ibid. p. 24.
would rather lay a child of mine in his grave than have him go there
(publishing work) to see these principles mangled and perverted. Oh,
my very soul is drawn out in these things! Men who have not learned
to submit themselves to the control and discipline of God are not competent
to train youth, to deal with human minds. It is just as much an impossibility
for them to do this work as it would be for them to make a world. That
these men should stand in a sacred place to be as the voice of God to
the people, as we once believed the General Conference to be, that is
past. What we want now is a reorganization. We want to begin at the
foundation and to build upon a different principle." -- Ibid.
p. 25. (Emphasis supplied.)
25 -- "according
to the light that has been given me -- greater strength must be brought
into the managing force of the Conference. But this will not be done
by intrusting responsibilities to men who have had light poured upon
them year after year for the last ten or fifteen years, and yet have
not heeded the light that God has given them. . .Here are the very
words that we want to bring into our life practice. The men that have
long stood in positions of trust, while disregarding the light that
God has given, are not to be depended upon. God wants them to be
removed. He wants a new life element brought into the publishing
institutions. There are those who have stood as managers and yet have
not managed after God's order. Some have served on committees here and
committees there and have felt free to dictate just what the committee
should say and do, claiming that those who did not carry out these ideas
were sinning against Christ." -- Ibid. pp. 25,
26. (Emphasis supplied.)
then spoke of the example set by the children of Israel. In desiring
to be like the other nations they thought they should have a king --
not God -- over them. Their history records the disastrous results of
that choice, and it was, she emphasized, not to be the experience of
modern Israel. As to control of the work she said: "Now
I want to say, God has not put any kingly power in our ranks to control
this or that branch of the work. The work has been greatly restricted
by the efforts to control it in every line. Here is a vineyard presenting
its barren places that have received no labor. And if one should start
out to till these places in the name of the Lord, unless he should get
the permission of the men in a little circle of authority, he would
receive no help. But God means that His workers shall have help. If
a hundred should start out on a mission to these destitute fields, crying
unto God, He would open the way before them. Let me tell you, if your
heart is in the work, and you have faith in God, you need not depend
upon the sanction of any minister or any people; if you go right to
work in the name of the Lord, in a humble way doing what you can to
teach the truth, God will vindicate you. If the work had not been so
restricted by an impediment here, and an impediment there, and on the
other side an impediment, it would have gone forward in its majesty.
" -- Ibid. p. 26.
this same conference A.
T. Jones also had much to say in regard to the way the organized
work had been handled in the past and of better methods in
26 -- which to conduct it in the future. In an evening sermon he
spoke to the delegation concerning organization from the Head: "God's
organization must come from the Head, which is Jesus Christ, the head
of the church; and it reaches to the individual. Now see the step that
was taken in General Conference today. I want you to see how certainly
that can never stop until it has reached each individual and brought
him face to face with God, to stand there alone only with God. There
was presented today, and endorsed, an appeal of local self-government
in a certain place. Very good. And then it was said here that that was
to be adopted in other parts. Very good. And when that district shall
be organized, there will be a local self-governing district; but the
same process must go farther -- each Conference must be a self-governing
local conference, and each church must be a local self-governing church,
and each individual must be a local self-governing individual. But no
man in this world can be a self-governing individual except as God in
Jesus Christ is his Head, and the man is governed by the power of God.
The only self-government, true self-government, in this world is a man
standing in the liberty wherewith Jesus Christ has made him; free, master
of his worst self and living in the divine self, which is Jesus Christ.
Then he has met the enmity, the evil, and has it underfoot; and there
he stands in the heavenborn liberty with which God has made him free,
-- a free, self-governing individual, as God made him to be in the beginning,
and as He makes him to be when He makes him again."
do you see that this step that we took today never can stop short of
that? Is not that plain enough? Then, brethren, the thing for each one
in this Conference to do is to get there just as quickly as possible.
Each one, then, must have set up in himself, and must be in himself,
a local self-government, to the glory of God. But no man can ever do
that, as I have said, except by the power of God in him; and no man
can do that and remain a local self-governing man except he stands alone
with God, apart from everyone else, and everything else, in the wide
universe. Now that does not separate him from all other people. Our
truest unity with other people is our whole loneliness with God. Our
truest fellowship, our sincerest love, our tenderest sympathy, reaching
out to all people is found only in standing absolutely alone, separate
from all other things, with God."
say again, the step taken today should never stop until every Seventh-day
Adventist is brought face to face with God. And for what shall we be
27 -- brought face to face with God? To find our bearings,
which we have been exhorted to find. And having found our bearings,
then let God in Christ be the Head, and the grand organizer." --
GCB, 1901, p. 103.
an earlier talk, Jones
used the organization of the human body as an illustration for the correct
organization of the church.
organization in which we ourselves are, our bodies which God has made
us, He has presented before us an everlasting illustration of the organization
of the church. And it is exceeding carelessness, and from that, blindness,
that cannot see the organization of the church, what it must be, when
every day each one carries about with him and is constantly using, this
body, which is composed of many members. Every one of these members
is actuated by the head; and no two of them ever come into quarrel,
ever have any difference of opinion, or act in contrary ways. Or if
they should by any means act in contrary ways, as the hands do to break
a string, it is only apparently; they are actually pulling together.
You simply cannot have schism in the body which God has organized from
the head. So then, since God calls for reorganization, let not a soul
here be afraid that there is going to be confusion, or schism, or anything
of the kind. There is no danger whatever except among those who hold
not the Head." -- GCB, 1901, pp. 41, 42.
he asked: "Who
is the church? -- Those who look to the Head; those who are joined to
the Head. Then there is no difference how many members there may be,
though we are only on one side of the earth, and another on the other
side of the earth, we two members will move together, and act together,
because the Head, Christ Jesus, the Lord, is organizing both. His will
actuates both. He is the one who is doing that in both." --
abuse of authority was the central issue of reorganization. Since the
work had been impeded in all fields by such abuse, a sound understanding
of true authority, and from what source it originates, was critical
to the discussion. Jones
place, never give authority. Authority qualifies for the place. . .
I will say it again; it must be a watchword for everyone in the conference.
Position never gives authority. Whomsoever God has called to the president
of the General Conference the next term, when he shall have
28 -- been chosen and shall stand before us here elected,
he will have no more authority than he has right now. And we do not
yet know who he is. Place, position never bestows authority. But authority
that a man already has from God, which God has put upon him: and if
he has not that authority before he enters the place, he has not the
authority when he is in the place. The view that place gives authority
is precisely the principle of papal infallibility. The pope is not infallible
before he is elected. Nobody claims that. He is only a cardinal before
he is elected; but as soon as he is elected, then he is infallible;
then he is inspired by the Holy Ghost because he holds his place. That
is the papacy." -- Ibid.
then fixed correctly the source of true authority:
is that God clothes men with authority; and whether they have any place
or position or not, it is all right, they have authority. . .The man
who is connected with the Head, the man who serves God, the man who
lives in Jesus Christ, can never lose his place; for his place is with
Jesus Christ, under the wings of the Almighty, and he is same. Where
was Jesus' authority? -- when He did not have any position or place?
How could He have authority? It was in the truth which He preached from
God. All men's authority, all true and right authority in this world
comes to him through the truth of God which he receives." -- Ibid.
then used Christ's contrast between the princes of the Gentiles and
the princes of God.
The Princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that
are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among
you.' What do the princes of the world do? They exercise authority.
Now God has never given to any man in His church authority to exercise
authority. That is the difference between the princes of the world and
the princes of God; for we are princes of God. The princes of the world
exercise authority; the princes of God have authority, and it exercises
itself. Then there is no dominion among the princes of God. There is
no lordship. . . there is none of the kingly spirit which was described
to us. No, there are no territorial boundaries among the princes of
God, -- that this is my conference. It is God's. So, the princes
of this world who have no real authority exercise authority. The princes
of God have true authority but exercise no authority. The princes of
God have authority, and that is enough to suit them; and God takes care
of the rest so that no one is greatest, but only one is Master, and
all of us are brethren." -- Ibid.
29 -- After
instruction from E. G. White had been given to the delegates in regard
to the imperative for change in Conference management, A. G. Daniells
moved that the usual rules and precedents for arranging and transacting
the business of the Conference be suspended and that a General Committee
be appointed which would constitute a Central
Committee to do the work of the Conference in preparing that
which would be brought before the delegates. (GCB, 1901, p. 27.)
After the motion was reread, opportunity was given the delegation for
seeing the folly of a select few doing the work of the whole, had this
interesting comment: "Would
not this proposal constitute a committee, the majority of whom would
be the same persons that we now have in office? If it would, I cannot
see that this particular combination would remove the difficulty."
-- Ibid. p. 28.
arose to the defense of his motion: "It
is true that persons who are named for this committee are holding offices
on different boards in different parts of the world, but it also provides
that others shall be called in to join these brethren in their work."
defiant of the instruction from Mrs. White that God wanted all who stood
in positions of trust, in positions of leadership and had disregarded
the light sent them, to be removed from their posts, Daniells
made this bizarre comment: "If
I understand correctly, one leading feature of the instruction given
us is the change of methods, the change of manner of doing, the way
of preparing our business, the way of dealing with things and not that
men altogether are to be swept away. It is not a condemnation of men
as men, but of methods and principles which must be swept away."
-- Ibid. p. 28.
seems to me that we are not called upon to sweep away every man who
has held a position during the last two years, but we are to sweep away
every wrong principle under which we have been working." --
30 -- Satisfied
with that, Prescott yielded the floor to Dr. E. J. Waggoner, who was
then recognized from the Chair.
Waggoner stated: "Without
making any strictures upon the motion, or saying anything regarding
the propriety of it or the membership of it, it seems to me that we
are in great danger of going over the same road in a different rut."
suggested that before they entered into anything like routine business,
they should at that moment seek the Lord diligently to know what thing
would be right for them to do. He continued: "We
say we should have a representative body. But the representative body
is here. I cannot say that that thing would be done if we would begin
straightaway; I cannot say it would not. For my part, I do not know.
But here is the representative body. Why should this representative
body, the first thing, centralize and put the business into the hands
of some committee to prepare and execute instead of doing the thing
for which it was sent here to do?" -- Ibid.
is astonishing that in spite of E. G. White's counsel that God wanted
the "men that have long stood in positions of trust" removed,
Daniells twisted what was said and interpreted it to mean, "the
manner of doing, the way of preparing our business, the way of dealing
with things and not the men," were to be removed. Daniells' motion
was passed after a brief period of discussion.
apart from God, first shape the manner of doing things according to
their own wisdom which, in turn, taints the work and workers. Whatever
attempt is put forth to correct the manner of doing things can accomplish
nothing if the men responsible for the corruption are allowed to remain.
remains ironic that a centralized body was formed, by men God wanted
removed, to do the work of reorganization on principles which, if justly
understood, were diametrically opposed to centralization in any form.
POSITIVE ACTION TAKEN:
need for reorganization
on right principles was acknowledged and had momentum for the moment
regardless of the conniving of the old guard, who were anxious to maintain
things as they were. So action was taken by the general session that
started things in the right
31 -- direction and changes were initiated that shifted the structure
of power from the few at the head of the work to a wider base at the
union and local levels.
significant departure from what was the norm should be noted: There
was no provision made for the position of President
of the General Conference. A chairman would preside over the enlarged
committee with the prohibition against any one man serving as chairman
for more than twelve months. The members of the committee also had the
option of selecting another of their number to be chairman of the board
should the acting chairman become unacceptable for any reason.
thrust of the conference was to break the power of those who envisioned
themselves as imbued with authority and who utilized it to rule their
brethren. It was done by action of the General Conference in session
-- by action of voting -- by constitutional legislation, which is fine
as far as it goes; but the only real change that is effective is done
in the human heart.
change in the constitution, which in theory set down guidelines for
the administration of the business of the Organization and its conduct,
could not be put into practice unless the human agent was willing in
spirit (and in the
Spirit) to abide by those guide lines; and if that person were willing
to, in spirit, do this, it spoke, first, of a certain molding from above.
could probably be said concerning the changes that were made -- changes
that, had they been put into practice, might have led to still further
changes that could have simplified the work even more and finally established
it under the full control of God's Spirit. That, of course, is the ideal;
reality and human nature are quite another thing. Primitive godliness
and human nature unaffected by the Spirit of God are at war with each
other. One is steeped in faith the other is mired in self-reliance.
the Spirit of the Lord was present at the conference, and the things
initiated under God's direction prompted the following response from
E. G. White:
have been trying to organize the work on right lines. The Lord sent
His angels to minister unto us who are heirs of salvation, telling us
how to carry the work forward. This is not our work. God has brought
was never more astonished in my life than at the turn things have taken
at this meeting. This is not our work; God has brought it about.
32 -- Instruction regarding this was presented to me; but
until the sum was worked out at this meeting, I could not comprehend
this instruction. God's angels have been walking up and down in this
congregation. I want everyone of you to remember this, and I want you
to remember also that God has said that He will heal the wounds of His
do you suppose has been among us since this Conference began? Who has
kept away the objectionable features that generally appear in such a
meeting? Who has walked up and down the aisles of the Tabernacle? The
God of heaven and His angels. And they did not come here to tear you
in pieces, but to give you right and peaceable minds. They have been
among us to work the works of God, to keep back the powers of darkness,
that the work of God designed should be done and should not be hindered."
-- GCB, 1901, pp. 464 - 468.
this, the Conference was, as she said in another place, the greatest
disappointment in her life.
1903 GENERAL CONFERENCE -- THE
1903 GENERAL CONFERENCE -- A REVERSAL:
the period leading up to and including the reorganization (1897 - 1901)
A. T. Jones, in particular, saw a glimmer of the end to which God was
directing the church. If the hand of the Lord can be seen in the work
of the 1901 General Conference, then the new Constitution , seen in
the guidelines worked out during the Conference, revealed in part the
thing God wanted done. And that end could only be what God, by causing
the 1888 message to go forth, was trying to advance in the church --
the righteousness of Christ, which is, in reality, the third angel's
message, the message of individual dependence and accountability --
heart, mind, soul and spirit, to God alone.
practical application of these concepts throughout 1901 and 1902 resulted
in a proposal to reverse the reformatory steps taken. This occured at
the 1903 General Conference session. The minority of the Committee on
33 -- Constitution presented a protest, in writing, against any
reversal of the 1901 Constitution.
minority of your Committee on Plans and Constitution beg leave to submit
that the Constitution proposed by the majority of the Committee appears
to us to be so subversive to the principles of organization given to
us at the General Conference of 1897 and 1901, and embodied in the present
Constitution and this, before that Constitution or the organization
according to it, has ever had adequate trial. We therefore recommend
that the Constitution of 1901 be given a fair trial before it be annihilated."
GCB, 1903, pp. 146, 147.
who supported the minority position were striving to retain at least
two important principles that were included in the 1901 Constitution.
First, they believed that the shorter the Constitution, less
regulation was possible -- a freer working atmosphere would lead to
more efficient organization. As it was stated in the Minority Report,
the proposed "new" Constitution would be a reversal of that.
Second, the principle of "self-government," subject
to the Spirit of God, covered in depth by Jones, was the
primary factor if the 1901 Constitution was to operate effectively.
Conference Committee governs for itself, acts for itself, attends to
its own business, and lets other people's business alone. The Union
Conference Committee itself is a self-governing committee. It governs
itself, not the conference, not any of the churches, nobody in the conference.
The General Conference Committee is to be a self-governing committee,
not to govern any other conference, or anybody at all but itself. And
this Constitution opens the way for the committee -- I do not say that
the members intended it -- it opens the way for them to encroach and
govern somebody besides themselves. What I am after is that we shall
have a constitution that shall everlastingly make that thing impossible;
and the present Constitution does it." -- Ibid.
work of the committee was then outlined: "What
is the work of the committee for? What is its work? Its work is to work,
and not to try to boss somebody else that is at work, whether conference
committee, Union Conference Committee, General Conference Committee,
or what not, and not try to superintend somebody else at work, but to
work, so that, when the committee meets, we meet as a committee. We
study the work each one comes in from his field, and in
34 -- committee he reports the conditions in his field,
reports the needs of that field, and then all report. We study it together,
and discuss together, -- our own work, and somebody else's. Then, when
the committee is adjourned, we go out to carry on our own work, and
not try to see whether somebody else is doing his work right. And when
one of the committee men out in the field meets a crisis, he does not
sit down and write up to somebody at headquarters, and ask him what
he shall do. He calls in responsible men in that place, in that community,
who are upon the ground, and counsels with them, brings them into the
work, and gets them interested in the work and carries on the work there
with the men who are there." -- Ibid. p. 155.
power of the Committee to direct or regulate the work, beyond that of
counseling, was non-existent under the 1901 Constitution. On that point,
a question was asked of Jones, "What would you do with a man that
could not preach just as the committee thought he should?" He replied:
him preach the gospel. I do not know what is in that question; but you
all know what to do. A man is not to preach for the committee; he is
not employed by the committee; he does not belong to the committee.
He preaches for Jesus Christ; he belongs to Jesus Christ; and the committee
must belong to Jesus Christ, and to serve Christ, and let the other
man alone, and let him preach the gospel which Christ gives." --
Ibid. p. 156.
in the majority rebuffed the minority report with the following points:
First, the idea advocated by the minority less regulation would
not result in a more perfect organization but rather a state of utter
disorganization, "much like that which we started with in the first
place." Secondly, the quorum of the General Conference Committee
was not to be called to control the general work but rather to meet
with the available members in a particular area for the purpose of counsel
relative to the work in that area; and, thirdly, as expressed
by G. I. Butler:
difficulty in all these things, I believe, is in regard to the principles
being put into practice by the men that are placed in office. If they
are the servants of God, if their hearts are fully submitted to Him,
if they have enough of that beautiful and important grace of humility,
which is the foundation of every grace, and have the fear of God before
them, if they have sufficient respect for the Testimonies of the Spirit
of God not only to believe those that seem to favor their views, but
to believe those that do not meet their views, or do not quite see into,
and will work and counsel
35 -- with our brethren, and follow out the principles that
are taught in the Testimonies, I cannot see a particle of danger in
our old system of organization." -- Ibid. p. 163.
essence of this assertion is that it is not a constitution, or any particular
system of organization that allows departure from right principles,
or that would prevent such a departure from gaining entrance into the
work of God, but rather the principles of character at the heart of
an individual which are revealed in the fruit of his doing that determines
how any constitution is viewed and how any organization is operated.
It is the spiritual condition of the men involved that determines the
direction of the work.
basis of the complaint offered by the minority in favor of less regulation,
and a constitution worded to secure, as much as possible, such a condition,
was indicative of past abuses practiced by those in control. If the
natural heart refused to be controlled by the Spirit of God, then there
must be some protection offered the suborned from such abuse; and a
constitution allowing less regulation was seen as a vehicle -- though
imperfect -- in which this end might be partially achieved. TOP
1901 CONSTITUTION AMENDED:
When all was said and done, the amended Constitution was voted upon
and adopted, thereby reversing the work of reform initiated by the Spirit
of God in the years 1888 through 1901. If the will of God for His people,
and His work done on this earth by them, is expressed in the voice of
the General Conference when in session, then which voice is correct?
The voice of 1901 or the voice of 1903? Both claim to be right, and
yet they are directly opposed. The reforms of 1901 are attested to by
E. G. White as being heaven-inspired. Where is there similar testimony,
or any testimony, in regard to the actions taken in 1903 as being heaven-inspired?
Eight of the Testimonies contains a letter written by E. G. White
that is found under the chapter heading, "Shall We Be Found Wanting?"
It describes the condition of the church at the time of the General
Conference session that year. It is dated April 21, 1903: "Our
position in the world is not what it should be. We are far from where
we should have been had our Christian experience been in harmony with
the light and the opportunities given us, had we from the beginning
constantly pressed onward and upward. Had we walked in the light that
has been given us, had we followed on to know the Lord,
36 -- our path would have grown brighter and brighter. But many
of those who have had special light are so conformed to the world that
they can scarcely be distinguished from worldlings. They do not stand
forth as God's peculiar people, chosen and precious. It is difficult
to discern between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not."
-- 8T, p. 247.
the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist church is to
be weighed. She will be judged by the privileges and advantages that
she has had. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the
advantages that Christ, at infinite cost has bestowed on her, if the
blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted
to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence: ' Found wanting.' By
the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged."
can truthfully say: 'Our gold is tried in the fire; our garments are
unspotted by the world?' I saw our Instructor pointing to the garments
of so-called righteousness. Stripping them off, He laid bare the defilement
beneath. Then He said to me: 'Can you not see how they have pretentiously
covered up their defilement and rottenness of character? How is the
faithful city become an harlot?' whence the divine presence and glory
have departed! For this cause there is weakness, and strength is lacking."
-- Ibid. p. 250.
occured in 1903, at the General Conference, that made the church, the
"faithful city, become a harlot?" What made God's house a
"house of merchandise" and "a place whence the divine
presence and glory have departed?"
is no mystery if one is willing to view the state of affairs in the
church at that time. Humanity demonstrates again and again, with appalling
regularity, a penchant to shove God aside and establish themselves,
in His place, at the head, as rulers and sovereigns.
turning away from the reformatory steps taken in 1901 the leadership
set the church on a course that could end only in ruin. God's revealed
will, heaven's established principles, the idea that God can best direct
His work and
His workers, practices that were to be woven into the work,
were brazenly set aside because human nature unaffected by the Spirit
of God cannot trust God.
A. T. Jones spoke on the matter of control:
37 -- "One
object of the Organization under the Constitution  that we had
was that the work should be unified, and that the Conference Committee
should be the unifying agency instead of the controlling agency; it
would be an advisory and unifying agency of the different departments
of the work of the cause." -- GCB, 1903, p. 165.
it seems to me the thing we are to fear more than anything else in this
is the danger of centralization and consolidating. It is a fact that
during the last two years, in spite of everything, there has been a
tendency to centralize. . .and we know that the work has been retarded
because of that spirit." -- Ibid. pp. 167, 168.
G. White: "God's
hand must hold every worker, and must guide and control every worker.
Men are not to make rules and regulations for their fellowmen. The Bible
has given the rules and regulations that we are to follow. We are to
study the Bible and learn from it the duty of man to his fellowman.
' The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.' " -- Ibid.
the reversal that took place during the 1903 Conference was a step in
the right direction, as some say, another question must be answered.
Why, after that Conference, did Mrs. White call for reformation? As
with all such calls, the promise of blessing is conditioned on obedience:
the church, which is now being leavened with her own backsliding, shall
repent and be converted, she will eat of the fruit of her own doing,
until she shall abhor herself. When she resists the evil and chooses
the good, when she seeks God with all humility and reaches her high
calling in Christ, standing on the platform of eternal truth and by
faith laying hold upon the attainments prepared for her, she will be
healed. She will appear in her God-given simplicity and purity, separate
from earthly entanglements, showing that the truth has made her
free indeed. Then her members will indeed be the chosen of God,
His representatives." -- 8T, p. 250. (Emphasis supplied.)
the Organization of Seventh-day Adventists was firmly committed to a
policy of control and denominationalism. Individuality in
38 -- religion was in decline. An example of this drift may be
seen in the Review and Herald, dated May 2, 1907 in an article
dealing with organization. This article was one in a series which was
indicative of the contest between J. H. Kellogg and the General Conference
administration, with A. G. Daniells firmly ensconced as president and
well along the way in establishing a dynasty that would hold the denomination
in a vice-like grip into the 1920's.
Review and Herald article, entitled, "The Order and Organization
of the Apostolic Church," sought to draw a parallel between the
apostolic system of organization and the organizational system of the
Seventh-day Adventists. The work of Peter and the other apostles was
cited, and then this eye-opening conclusion was reached: "'And
it came to pass, as Peter went throughout all parts he came down also
to the saints that dwelt at Lydda.' His work by this scripture seemed
to be going about through "all parts," visiting the "saints"
and preaching in new places. But Jerusalem was his headquarters. He
was one of the elders there. Therefore, in Peter, as in leading brethren
now whom God is using, these companies of believers were united in the
Holy Ghost as brethren banded together to carry the gospel into
all the world." R & H, May 2, 1907. (Emphasis supplied.)
is a mania, among those who organize apart from God's order, to be unified.
It is the one unchanging maxim in all of their writing and speaking.
Since it is impossible for them to do this inwardly, as it would be
done in the Spirit, they attempt the same by force -- by the codification
of doctrinal belief. At the same time, attention is directed to the
leading men in whom they say "God" uses to unify believers
in the Holy Spirit. Christ as Head of His body, the church, is wholly
usurped in the true spirit of Rome.
the Review and Herald writer (cited above) attempted to show
that the Seventh-day Adventist Church was organized along the lines
of the Apostolic Christian church,
A. G. Daniells, in a turn-around, published an article in
the Review and Herald, dated two weeks later, extending the idea
that the Organization of the Seventh-day Adventists resembled, not the
Christian, but the Mosaic: "This
comparison might be carried still further, but what has been pointed
out will prove sufficient to make it plain that there is a very close
resemblance between the simple, complete, and efficient system of organization
provided by Moses, and the organization worked out for the
39 -- remnant church called out by the threefold message
of Revelation 14: 6-14." RH, May 16, 1907.
with his usual lack of euphemisms, responded with the following: "There
is, then, no possible room for question that the form of organization
of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination is professedly that of the
Mosaic order. And this to the exclusion of the Christian order..."
truth is that the Mosaic order of organization was no more for the direction
and the government of the church in New Testament times, than that Moses
himself is for the direction and government of the church in New Testament
times. Moses himself was for the Mosaic or Old Testament times."
go back to Moses and to the Mosaic order for any such purpose as that
which is set forth in that official statement as to the organization
of the Seventh-day Adventist, is nothing else than to abandon Christ
and the Christian order wholly." -- A. T. Jones, An Appeal,
p. 34 - 35.
legacy of 1903 is among Adventists even today. Ask any Adventist what
the Church's organization is modeled after and he will most likely say,
the Mosaic order. And so, confusion reigns. Moses' veil is still in
place. What was in its infancy then, has fully matured. The Movement
has become a church. Its working apparatus has mutated into a formal,
legal, corporate entity. Gone is the time when its only creed was the
cry of Luther, "Sola Scriptura," -- the Bible alone. Its sole
reason for existence was the uplifting of humanity by the declaration
of a very special message; but that high calling could not be maintained
and a downward spiral began. Church and Organization became confused
in people's minds; Organization deviated from the path God set before
it and polluted the church in the process. The "thing" ceased
its primary objective of service to that of being served.
religion of Christ is neither inter-national nor national, nor denomin-national.
It is individual and universal. And in every denomination, and in no
denomination, as well as in every nation, he that feareth God and worketh
righteousness is accepted with Him." -- An Appeal, p.
extends its control over the means and manner in which working for God
is done. Individuals who desire to give God service are
40 -- crowded into the narrow confines of human rules and regulations,
and the latitude that the Spirit of God needs to develop in them is
greatly restricted. God's influence upon them is much diminished. The
delight and satisfaction derived from serving Him is sullied. Religious
freedom is lost.
cry, "God's work must be organized if anything is to be done,"
is a clear signal that those who make that cry, and to some extent those
who respond to it, have no faith that God Himself is capable of organizing
and directing "God's work."
page six of the October 4, 1906 edition of the Review and Herald,
an article appears which was taken from the Interior, a Presbyterian
journal. It was quoted: "Let
the descendants of the reformers, who love the Work, love God above
any word of man, hold steadfastly to the Protestant vantage ground.
Let us never suppose we can buttress the testimony of the Bible by the
dictum of the church."
Review and Herald
then shot back this barbed retort: "This
is, the platform of the Advent Movement. 2 A
consistent adherence to this principle will result in a return to all
those truths which were perverted or lost during the time when human
authority took the place of divine commands. If the dictum and the tradition
of the church should be set aside, the Lord's Sabbath would be observed
by every Christian believer. What glorious results would follow if Presbyterians
as well as other professed Protestants would be true to the Protestant
the sole exception of the Sabbath (and it is lightly regarded), conditions
have, with certainty, devolved in the Adventist church to the point
that if the same statement were made today, it could only be termed
to be the basest hypocrisy.
It is interesting that Seventh-day Adventists, even at this time, still
considered their effort to be a "movement" as opposed to a
"denomination." The concept of a movement -- an entity with
no real visible structure -- has been set asidfe for the idea of a "world
church" -- highly structured and visibly organized.
41 -- Blank
Book is Continued
Under Which Banner - Part 2 of 4