Sabbath, May 19, 2007
ORGANIZATION OF LOCAL CHURCHES AND STATE CONFERENCES
1. What advice was given to the believers by Sister White in 1854?
Ephesians 4:15, 16 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
“In 1854 Mrs. White wrote: ‘The church must flee to God’s word, and become established upon gospel order which has been overlooked and neglected.’ This is indispensably necessary to bring the church into the unity of the faith.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, p. 295.
2. How much time passed before Seventh-day Adventists were formally organized?
1 Timothy 3:14, 15 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
“Earnest efforts to bring about church organization spanned the decade of the 1850’s. They culminated in 1860 in the choice of the name ‘Seventh-day Adventists,’ and, in 1861, in plans for the organization of local churches and state conferences.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. xvii.
THE NAME OF THE CHURCH
3. How was the question of a name for the church decided upon?
Exodus 31:16, 17 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
“Finally, in the fifth session the question of a name was settled. So far they had made shift with various more or less vague terms: ‘the brethren,’ ‘the little flock,’ ‘the remnant people,’ ‘Sabbathkeepers,’ and ‘the church of God.’ This last term seemed to some ideal as an official name, despite the fact that it was already used by several bodies, and besides had rather an arrogant sound. But others desired a distinctive name which would express their principal beliefs, and they proposed the name Seventh-day Adventist, which indeed had already been applied to them as much as any other.
“On motion of David Hewitt, the name Seventh-day Adventist was adopted.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, pp. 302, 303.
4. What was the testimony of Sister White about this choice?
Isaiah 58:12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.
“The name Seventh-day Adventist carries the true features of our faith in front, and will convict the inquiring mind. Like an arrow from the Lord’s quiver, it will wound the transgressors of God’s law, and will lead to repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 224.
THE ORGANIZATION OF THE GENERAL CONFERENCE
5. What was the next step in the organization?
Hebrews 12:22, 23 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
“Then in 1863, the state conferences were bound together in the General Conference. Painstaking care was exercised to avoid the first step in forming a creed, for it was apparent that the church could not have creedal stakes firmly driven, and at the same time be free to follow God’s opening providences as revealed through a study of the word of God and the revelations of the Spirit of Prophecy.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, pp. xvii, xviii.
6. How was the General Conference organized?
Exodus 18:25 And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.
“Complying with Michigan’s invitation, through its Conference Committee, a General Conference met in Battle Creek, Michigan, May 20-23, 1863. All the new conferences but Vermont were represented by one or more delegates. Michigan had ten delegates, half the entire number; but this was also the second session of the Michigan Conference.
“The Committee on Nominations brought in the following report: president, James White; secretary, Uriah Smith; treasurer, E. S. Walker; executive committee, James White, John Byington, J. N. Loughborough, to whom were added J. N. Andrews and G. W. Amadon. But Elder White declined to serve as president, on the ground that because he had been so prominent in urging a definite organization, it might be charged (as indeed in substance it already had been) that he was seeking to be a king. In the face of his adamantine refusal, John Byington was substituted, and so became the first General Conference president.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, pp. 307, 308.
7. What was the term of the General Conference election?
Matthew 24:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.