Sabbath, May 16, 2007
1. How were certificates issued to early Seventh-day Adventist preachers?
Galatians 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
“There had, however, come up earlier the question of certifying public teachers of the faith. This was met by James White and Joseph Bates issuing a card certificate, signed by themselves as ‘leading ministers,’ to any such teacher who gave evidence of fitness. Later such cards were signed as well by J. N. Loughborough, and perhaps by other front-rank ministers.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, pp. 294, 295.
2. Who were early Seventh-day Adventist gospel ministers?
2 Corinthians 4:1, 2 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
“As for ordination as gospel ministers, that at first was indetermi¬nate. James White had been ordained in 1843 as a minister in the Chris¬tian denomination; Frederick Wheeler and John Byington were ordained Methodist ministers, and A. S. Hutchins was ordained in the Freewill Baptist Church. There were a few others. Many of the workers in the 1844 movement were men ordained in different communions; for in its early proclamation it appealed to hundreds of earnest Christian pastors. Yet there were many laymen who also entered into the preaching without receiving ordination. William Miller himself was licensed, but not ordained, by the Baptists. Some of the Seventh-day Adventists at first were such lay preachers. It does not appear that Joseph Bates was ever ordained or even licensed, though he was active and prominent in the 1844 movement as well as afterward.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, p. 295.
ORDINATION IN THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
3. How did ordination in the early Seventh-day Adventist Church begin?
Acts 13:1-3 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
“In a series of four articles in the Review and Herald that same year
4. What were the main subjects of these early preachers?
Hebrews 6:1-3 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.
“In the evangelistic field, increasing success came to Seventh-day Adventist ministers. Their work consisted mainly in preaching the dis¬tinctive truths of the gospel message, including the Sabbath, the state of the dead, the second advent, and the sanctuary. Many of the men were drawn into discussions and debates involving the law of God and other vital Bible truths. Imperceptibly, not a few of those who engaged in such discussions became self-reliant, and there developed in their hearts a spirit of sureness, self-dependence, and argumentativeness. In time this bore unwholesome fruit.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. xviii.
THE SUPPORT OF THE MINISTRY
5. How were ministers supported by their followers at that time?
1 Corinthians 9:13, 14 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
“A pressing question was how to support the ministers equitably. The haphazard practice of trusting to the liberality of adherents resulted in inequalities corresponding to the personal appeal of the preachers, and in no case was there superabundance. In a national period when currency was scarce, when barter was still a not uncommon method of exchange, ‘seven or eight dollars,’ as Waggoner’s sympathizer proposed, was no mean sum, and many a farmer who scarcely saw that much in a month could easily excuse himself from donations. In fact, the preacher’s pay was often in a bushel of wheat, half a hog, or ‘a piece of broiled fish and of an honey-comb.’ The leaders perceived that the time was ripe to invoke a more effective plan.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, p. 296.
6. What steps were taken to resolve this matter?
Nehemiah 13:10-13 And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field. Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place. Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil unto the treasuries. And I made treasurers over the treasuries, Shelemiah the priest, and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah: and next to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son Mattaniah: for they were counted faithful, and their office was to distribute unto their brethren.
“In April, 1858, a class formed in Battle Creek, presided over by J. N. Andrews, to study the Scriptures for light on the support of the ministry.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, p. 296.