Sabbath, June 25, 2007
THE SETTING OF THE CONFERENCE
1. For what time was the General Conference set and with what program?
Acts 15:6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
“The General Conference session of 1888 was called for Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 17 to November 4. This was preceded by a week-long Biblical Institute, at which there were discussions as to whether the Huns or the Alemanni should constitute one of the ten kingdoms of Daniel 2 and 7, and Revelation 13. Uriah Smith, editor of the Review and Herald, took a certain position and A. T. Jones, editor of Signs of the Times, took another. E. J. Waggoner, also from the Pacific Press, conducted studies on the atonement and the law of God, and Elder Jones presented justification by faith. These discussions continued into the session itself, and occasionally there was bitter disputation. Some of the ministers had come to the Conference to debate certain questions, rather that to study truth. Ellen White was present, and she called for all to approach these presentations with open hearts and open minds. She urged a careful, prayerful study of the topics under discussion.” –Testimonies
2. What evidence is there to indicate that the 1880’s were a period of notable missions advance and institutional development?
Acts 6:7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
“As the Seventh-day Adventist Church came to the close of the year 1887, it had a total world membership of 25,841, with twenty-six local conferences and one mission in North America and four local conferences and six missions overseas. The General Conference Committee consisted of seven men, the committee having been cautiously enlarged in 1882 from three members to five and in 1886 from five to seven.” –Testimonies
3. What conflict emerged during the preceding year or two?
Acts 15:2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.
“During the preceding year or two some differences of opinion had been expressed in articles appearing in these journals, concerning the law in Galatians. In each case the editors of the journals championed opposing positions. Ellen White, while still in Switzerland, wrote to the editors of Signs of the Times counseling against publishing articles with conflicting views.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. xxii.
JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH
4. How did these differences originate?
Galatians 3:10-13 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, the man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.
“Out on the Pacific Coast that veteran and writer, J. H. Waggoner, one of the pioneers, who had as early as 1868 published in The Atonement a clear exposition of justification by faith, grasped the importance of the current issue. He took younger men, and filled them with the vision of Christ. His own son, E. J. Waggoner, was one of those; A. T. Jones was another. And when in 1887 the elder Waggoner was called to Europe, these two young men particularly rose with might to carry on the message.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 2, p. 289.
5. How was the message of the righteousness by faith met?
Acts 15:39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus.
“Unfortunately, several among the leaders of our work connected with the General Conference and our institutions at Battle Creek ranked themselves on the negative side and established in the very heart of the work of the church a hard core of resistance.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. xxv.
6. What testimony was given by the Spirit of Prophecy in sup¬port of this message?
Revelation 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
Revelation 18:1-2 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
“Several have written to me, inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel’s message, and I have answered, ‘It is the third angel’s message in verity.’” (Review and Herald, April 1, 1890) –Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 372.
“The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth.” (Review and Herald, Nov. 22, 1892) –Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 363.
“There was a time when this work was made necessary, because our own people opposed the work of God by refusing the light of truth on the righteousness of Christ by faith.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 401.
“The true religion, the only religion of the Bible, that teaches forgive¬ness only through the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour, that advo¬cates righteousness by the faith of the Son of God, has been slighted, spoken against, ridiculed, and rejected.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 468.
CAPERNAUM, SHILOH, EPHRAIM
7. What judgment was pronounced against Seventh-day Adventists in 1893?
Matthew 11:21-24 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
“Christ says, ‘But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum,
“And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the Lord, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not; therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim.” –Review and Herald, August 1, 1893.