A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner brought new emphasis and a clearer understanding to the doctrine of justification by faith. Some of the older ministers and laymen objected, feeling that grace was being asserted at the expense of the law.
One of these famous "debates" had to do with the book of Galatians. In addition to articles in church publications, two books were printed, "The Law in the Book of Galatians" by George I. Butler (1886), and "The Gospel in the Book of Galatians" by Ellet J. Waggoner (1888).
On April 13, 1886 O. A. Johnson wrote an article in the Review entitled "The Two Laws," claiming that the law in Galatians included the ceremonial law.
E. J. Waggoner answered with a series of nine articles in The Signs of the Times (July 8-September 2, 1886) claiming that the law referred to in the book of Galatians was the moral law.
On February 18, 1887 Ellen G. White wrote from Basel, Switzerland to the editor (Waggoner) of The Signs of the Times, questioning them for airing denominational differences before the public. She stood with neither side in the debate. (See letter 37, 1887; Counsels to Writers and Editors, pp. 75-80).
Following her counsel, E. J. Waggoner waited until 1888 to publish his book, "The Gospel in Galatians" in which he stated his views on the subject.
We present these two books together in an attempt to accurately present the history and issues surrounding the Minneapolis Conference of 1888.
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