John H. Kellogg was a brilliant doctor in charge of the largest and most well-respected sanitarium in the world. Many of its patrons came from the upper classes of society, including royalty.
But Battle Creek had its problems.
For years Sister White had counselled that the gospel ministry and the medical work should go hand in hand. Pastors were to be medical missionaries. Some of the medical men wanted to use drugs, but the counsel was always to use natural remedies. Male doctors and nurses were not to act as midwives for the birth of a child; neither should male doctors give physical examinations to women patients. The reverse was also true. Large sanitariums and hospitals were not to be built; instead there were to be small facilities in different places. 13 Manuscript Release 113-118. Counsels Diet-Foods p303. Counsels on Health p212. Series B No.6 p192-194.
This counsel was largely rejected by the medical profession.
The publishing house had its problems too. Instead of giving priority to ‘The Great Controversy’ as the prophet had directed, they chose to print and promote ‘Bible Readings for the Home Circle’. Clear instruction had been given to only print truth-filled literature, but with the demand to keep presses running, they accepted secular work for printing.
In 1901 Sister White wrote, "The presses in the Lord's institution have been printing the soul-destroying theories of Romanism and other mysteries of iniquity… I have been almost afraid to open the ‘Review’, fearing to see that God has cleansed the publishing house by fire.” Letter 138. 1901. 8 Testimonies p91.
Finally, God Himself took drastic measures.
On February 18, 1902, the Battle Creek Sanitarium burned to the ground.
It was a great loss to the denomination, but Dr. Kellogg was determined to rebuild. The grandeur and monumental size of the five-story building, far bigger than voted by the committee, was found to cost much more than had been estimated. The Story of our Health Message. Dores E. Robinson p318.319.
Kellogg was commissioned to write a new book to help defray the costs. This book was ‘Living Temple’. He was told not to include his new theories, but ignored the counsel. He tried to gain approval at the Autumn Council for his book to be published at church expense, but a letter from Sister White counselled Daniells to have nothing to do with the book; a vote was not taken. Kellogg took ‘Living Temple’ to the Review and Herald Publishing House as outside work, and they agreed to print it. http://www.sdadefend.com/Ad-history/Alpha/alpha-3.htm
On December 30 of the same year, the publishing house burned to the ground, and with it the galley proofs of Kellogg’s book. He took the manuscript to a non-Adventist printer.
Financially, the loss of the publishing house was a huge disaster to the denomination, and Sister White felt that loss. But her greatest sorrow was the attitude of those in leadership.
At the General Conference the previous year, the prophet had told the delegates that a thorough reformation was necessary. The church is “working upon wrong principles”, she said. Manuscript 37. p98. 1901.
“The people have lost confidence in those who have the management of the work. Yet we hear that the voice of the Conference is the voice of God. Every time I have heard this, I have thought it was almost blasphemy. The voice of the Conference ought to be the voice of God…” Manuscript 37. 1901. p8. Talk by Mrs. E. G. White in the Review Chapel regarding the Southern work.
The brethren were advised that “it is not wise to choose one man as president of the General Conference.” To Conference Presidents. Aug 1896. Battle Creek College Apr 1. 1901.
“The Great General of armies, the Captain of the Lord's host, is our leader… Now I want to say, God has not put any kingly power in our ranks to control this or that branch of the work.” General Conference Bulletin. Apr 3.1901. No.1 p26.
“Men of stubborn, ironlike will, both in and out of the office, were confederating together, determined to drive certain measures through in accordance with their own judgment.” Testimonies to Ministers p461.462. 1890.
In 1901, it was voted that a ‘chairman’ would head the General Conference for only one year. Arthur Daniells had been elected, but two years later, he was still in that position.
But in 1903, a new Constitution was proposed that specifically provided for the election of a General Conference ‘president’, who would be given a “mandate from the church.” This would give the president and “leading officers” authority to enact what they thought the people needed. http://ims.truepath.com/gcsessions/1903gc.html
This is worldly policy.
When the vote was taken, 85 out of 108 delegates voted for the new Constitution, making Daniells the president, an office he held for the next twenty years.
The new Constitution provided for the Executive Committee of 25 members, to have full administrative power between sessions for any five members (including the president or vice president) as a quorum to take steps that would involve the whole committee. 1903. Article 11, Section 1 and 2. Early Elmshaven Years p257. (The committee was increased in 1901 from 13 to 25 members. GCB p151)
Sister White spoke to the Conference saying, “These principles are so foreign to God’s principles that God cannot bless those who vote upon them.” 1903 GCB p152.
“God will not vindicate any device whereby men shall in the slightest degree rule or oppress his fellow man.” 7 Testimonies p81.
Ellet .J. Waggoner spoke out against the Constitution, saying, “The first objection I have to the report is that it is fundamentally and diametrically opposed to the principles of organization as set forth in the Bible… This being so, I regard the (majority) report as revolutionary and inconsistent…. My second objection is to this constitution itself, which, in some of its particulars, I regard as the worst constitution ever devised among Seventh-day Adventists.” Gen. Conf. Bulletin 1903.
Percy Magan reminded the delegates of the principles laid out in the previous council, saying, “the principles which are to be brought in through this proposed constitution, and in the way in which they are brought in, are the same principles, and introduced in precisely the same way, as they were hundreds of years ago when the Papacy was made.” General Conference Bulletin. Day 3. No.10 p150.
Alonzo T. Jones said, “I believe with the minority report that this proposed constitution is subversive of the principles of organisation given to us at the General Conference of 1897, and that of 1901…
The constitution today simply carries us back to these wrong principles; for in the constitution proposed, is incorporated the principle that one man shall be president of the General Conference; and then it is so arranged that a few men shall have a voice in molding things, and acting for the whole people…” Ibid p152.153.
One week after the Conference had ended, the Lord spoke through His prophet regarding the decision made by church leaders, “How is the faithful city become an harlot!… Unless 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." 8 Testimonies p247.250. April 21 1903.
Dear Reader, do not pass over this message of condemnation simply because it was written over one hundred years ago.
Instead, ask yourself –Is the church repeating the same evil?
Are we still working on wrong principles?
Ignoring past counsel places the church in a very dangerous position. God is patient and merciful, but there comes a time when it is no longer possible to change.
As a result of the decisions in 1903, Sister White stated one year later, “I have seen men who have been placed in positions of trust as watchmen, molding and fashioning the work in our conferences and institutions in accordance with worldly policy, which God condemns.” Series B No.2. p19.20. June 1904.
God may once again use drastic measures. He is watching to see if repentance and change actually takes place.
It is said by many --We are the Laodicean church, and it is going through to glory. There are only seven churches, not eight. Laodicea is the last church; the remnant.
Unfortunately, this well-accepted position is making Laodicea a title, rather than a condition. As a result we have not seen ourselves as truly “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:14.
When Brother Jones spoke on the subject in 1893, he made it so clear that some of the brethren were offended. (All are quotations; the different styles are for variation)
“How can you say that? We are Christians. If I am in Christ, am I to acknowledge myself a helpless, undone sinner? I thought when I was in Christ I could thank the Lord that I was good, entirely perfect and sanctified?”
Jones replied, “Why no. He is. When you are in Christ, He is perfect, He is righteous, He is holy and never errs, and His holiness is imputed to you – is given to you. His faithfulness, His perfection is mine, but I am not that….
“O yes, but when I come to him for wisdom and ask for wisdom and He gives it to me, then can’t I boast and say, I am wise?”
Why no… When I did not walk wisely, He gave me His wisdom; His wisdom guided me… He is my wisdom, and I have no wisdom at all, but His wisdom. Don’t you see?... ‘I will guide thee with mine eye.’ When He says He guides me with His eye, I shall answer, it is His eye that guides you and me, and not our own eyes…
And now about that thought last night – some thought I was going entirely too far. They could say, it is enough when He says, ‘You are wretched’, I say I am wretched. When He says, ‘You are poor’, I say I am poor. When He says, ‘You are blind’, I say, I am blind.
And when He says, ‘You don’t know it’, then I am to say ‘I know it’?
No, no. When He says, ‘You don’t know it’, I am to say I don’t know it. Do not go to putting constructions upon His way… “If any man thinketh he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know it.” Gen. Conf. Bulletin 1893 p63.64.
Sister White said the Laodicean message is a “startling denunciation of their true condition of spiritual blindness, poverty, and wretchedness. The testimony, so cutting and severe, cannot be a mistake, for it is the True Witness who speaks, and His testimony must be correct.” 3 Testimonies p252.253.
Did you realise the True Witness is speaking to you?
And to me.
God wants us to believethat we are “wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked” -- all of us. We can’t see it; we must believe the Lord’s denunciation. Man’s glory must be “laid in the dust.” 20 Manuscript Release p117.
“The religious services, the prayers, the praise, the penitent confession of sin ascend from true believers as incense to the heavenly sanctuary, but passing through the corrupt channels of humanity, they are so defiled that unless purified by blood, they can never be of value to God.” 1 Selected Messages p344.
“All must be laid upon the fire of Christ’s righteousness to cleanse it from its earthly odor before it rises in a cloud of fragrant incense.” Faith and Works p23.24.
Upon hearing these truths from Brother Jones in 1893, some of the brethren felt very discouraged.
They were told, “Brethren, if the Lord has brought up sins to us that we never thought of before, that only shows He is going down to the depths, and He will reach the bottom at last; and when He finds the last thing that is unclean or impure, that is out of harmony with His will, and brings that up, and shows that to us, and we say, ‘I would rather have the Lord than that’ -- then the work is complete, and the seal of the living God can be fixed upon that character. (Congregation: Amen)…
“Which would you rather, have the completeness, the perfect fullness of Jesus Christ, or have less than that, with some of your sins covered up that you never knew of? (Congregation: His fullness)…
He has got to dig down to the deep places we never dreamed of, because we cannot understand our hearts… He will cleanse the heart, and bring up the last vestige of wickedness… And when He does bring our sins before us, let the heart say, ‘Lord, Thou gavest Thyself for my sins; Oh, I take thee instead of them.’ They are gone, and I rejoice in the Lord… Which would you rather have, your sins or Christ?” (Congregation: Christ) Gen. Conf. Bulletin. p120. 1893.
Isn’t this a precious message?
Sadly, not all surrendered in those early days. Sister White said divisions would come in the church, and we will “witness the apostasy of men in whom we have had confidence, in whom we trusted, who we supposed, were as true as steel to principle.” 3 Selected Messages p411.
Even Brethren Jones and Waggoner went astray.
As early as 1893, while editor of the ‘Signs of the Times’, Jones was influenced by Dr Kellogg. In 1903 the doctor asked him to teach at the Battle Creek College, and by 1906 Ellen White said he was “a man deluded and deceived”. Letter 116 to Dr David Paulson. 1906. (Jones died in 1923)
In 1903, Waggoner moved to Battle Creek, placing him in great peril. Sister White wrote to him, saying, “Satan is working stealthily, untiringly, to affect your downfall through his specious temptations… He hopes to lead you into the mazes of spiritualism.” Letter 231. 1903. (Waggoner died in 1916)
In vision, the prophet saw her counsellor addressing both young men, “The sentiments that you have received in harmony with the special theories presented in the book ‘Living Temple’ are not pure truth. There is a co-mingling of truth and error… Separate entirely from the bewitching, misleading sentiments that run through ‘Living Temple’.” Letter 279. 1904.
Both young men were lost to the denomination.
Kellogg continued to teach heresy, and many were seduced. Men were put under his spell, and followed an apostate position for the rest of their lives. (Kellogg died in 1943)
But apostasy did not die with Dr. Kellogg.
The prophet said it will “develop into darkness deep as midnight, impenetrable as sackcloth of hair”, and will increase in strength until the coming of Jesus. Special Testimonies Series B. No.7 p57. 7 Manuscript Releases p185.
“Rebellion and apostasy are in the very air we breathe.” 2 Selected Messages p58.
The problem is not so much apostasy in the church. Individuals will go astray and leave the denomination. But when the church in session passes heretical doctrines and worldly policies, then it becomes a church in apostasy.
We have been warned.
In 1904. “For the past fifty years every phase of heresy has been brought to bear upon us...
Messages of every order and kind have been urged upon Seventh-day Adventists, to take the place of the truth which, point by point, has been sought out by prayerful study, and testified to by the miracle-working power of the Lord.” Special Testimonies Series B #2 p59.
Over and over the prophet wrote of the wonderful way in which the truth came to us in the beginning. It was not a work of man, but of God.
In 1905 she said, “Every pillar that He has established is to be strengthened. We cannot now step off the foundation that God has established. We cannot now enter into any new organization; for this would mean apostasy from the truth.” Manuscript 129, 1905. 2 Selected Messages p390.
In 1906. “The truth is the same as it ever has been, and not a pin or a pillar can be moved from the structure of truth. That which was sought for out of the Word in 1844, 1845, and 1846 remains the truth today in every particular.” Letter 38, 1906.
Some brethren believe the Seventh-day Adventist Church is still standing on the platform of truth given to the pioneers, and anyone who denies this is maligning the church. Others think that speaking of the denomination being in apostasy is a conspiracy of the devil to destroy the church.
In 1907 the prophet wrote, “The time of this apostasy is here. Every conceivable effort will be made to throw doubt upon the positions we have occupied for over half a century.” Letter 410, 1907. p2. (To J. E. White. Aug 26. 1907.) 7MR 195.
To talk of apostasy is not a conspiracy theory. We must remind ourselves that we are blind. Jesus called the Jewish leaders “blind leaders of the blind”, as they refused to believe God’s plainly-stated words. Matthew 15:14. 23:16.
Are we doing the same?
It is not so much thinking everything is evil. There are good men and women in our church who are honouring God to the best of their understanding.
Talented evangelists are sharing the truth of the third angel in a remarkable way. The Spirit of God is evident in their lives and the testimony of their witness. Countless brethren and sisters have ministries that reveal the love of Jesus to all who come in contact with them.
When A.T. Jones was speaking to the 1903 delegates about the evils prior to 1897, he said the same thing. “Now, please bear in mind, I am not in any sense calling attention to any fault, or trying to, or raising any reproach whatever against the brethren who have been at headquarters… because it is simply the principle that is wrong.” General Conference Bulletin 1903 No.10. p153.
After A.G. Daniells was out of his presidential office, he realised Brother Jones was right about organisation, and tried to correct it. But by that time, no one would listen to him. ‘Landmarks’ Aug. 1999. Conversation between Meade MaGuire and A.G. Daniells, told to George Burnside by Meade MaGuire.
God’s loving arms are still extended to His church -- Obey My will and I will bless you.
“We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.” Life Sketches p196.
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