Let History Speak
Let History Speak


Scholars, Compilers, and Ellen White Portray
Conflicting Concepts of Adventist History

Primacy of the Gospel Committee • Andrews University • May 14-16, 1999

This original compilation focuses on serious irregularities facing modern Israel. The parallels with ancient Israel are awesome, for we too have been in a great degree defeated by the same unconscious sin of unbelief.

It is astonishing that the manuscript 1888 Re-examined, officially rejected in 1958 continues to prod authors to write further condemnation. At least seven books in opposition have been published. But no amount of condemnation can cancel the 1800-page support found in the Ellen G. White 1888 Materials.

Besides the books by our scholars, we have in-house publications with the same negative biases. The Ellen White Estate has added their counteracting support by editing recent editions of long-time standard works to condition readers to perplexing conclusions. Specific statements plus overt implications in all these works reject the call for repentance.

Here the Primacy Report in paragraph No. 5 under "Areas of Disagreement" denies that "Ellen White ever called for corporate repentance in respect to events in 1888 or 1893." This reveals a serious lack of knowledge concerning what Ellen White has said in the 1888 Materials. This paper presented previously to them documents her specific calls for repentance. How did the Primacy Report overlook this? Surely it would make a difference in the hearts of sincere administrators and our church members if they knew the facts. Here is the paper:


"Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper." 2 Chronicles 20:20.

Remember our history, friends, and be warned. All our ancestors were led by the providential Cloud and taken miraculously through the Sea. They went through the waters, in baptism like ours, as Moses led them from enslaving death to salvation life. They all ate and drank identical food and drink, meals provided daily by God. They drank from the Rock, God's fountain for them that stayed with them wherever they were. And the Rock was Christ. But just experiencing God's wonder and grace didn't seem much—most of them were defeated by temptation during the hard times in the desert, and God was not pleased.

The same thing could happen to us. We must be on guard so that we never get caught in wanting our own way as they did. And we must not turn our religion into a circus as they did—"First the people partied, then they threw a dance." We must not be sexually promiscuous—they paid for that, remember, with twenty-three thousand deaths in one day! We must never get Christ to serve us instead of us serving him; they tried it, and God launched an epidemic of poisonous snakes. We must be careful not to stir up discontent; discontent destroyed them.

These are all warning markers—DANGER!—in our history books, written down so that we don't repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don't be so naive and self-confident. You're not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it's useless. Cultivate God-confidence.

1 Corinthians 10:1-12, The Message


This Corinthian passage is a biblical warning for Seventh-day Adventists; we live in the end-time and our history shows that the Lord has also led us. Like Israel of old we too have been guided by the providential "cloud." We too have been taken from "slavery" and have been given food and drink from the same "Rock."

Our history proclaims that we too have been defeated by the same unconscious sin of unbelief. The account is explicit; it happened to the children of Abraham, and the evidence says the same thing has happened to us. They were at the beginning time, and we are at the end-time.

Truth proclaims that we have more to warn us now than Israel ever had, but we have failed to read and believe what is written in our own history. We have ignored many precious messages the God of Israel has sent to us.

The year 1998 brings modern Israel to 40 years since 1888 Re-examined was officially rejected by the General Conference. This half-a-lifetime is part of 110 years since the 1888 Minneapolis General Conference session. Ellen White is emphatic that at that time the Lord sent a "most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones."

Within the present generation of Adventists there are few who know anything of our Minneapolis history, or of the intervening forty years since 1958. But 100 years ago God's people were warned of the danger of ignorance:—

"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."

We have heard this quotation scores of times, but do we know that it comes from the General Conference Bulletin of February 20,1899? That means that one hundred years ago we were warned not to forget "the way the Lord has led us, and his teaching in our past history." This brings to the present generation of Adventists—modern Israel—a compelling witness; it's time to cross Jordan.

Forty years ago there were no copy machines, no computers as known today, and of course, there were no CD-ROMs to bring our church history and Ellen White's witness to view at the click of a mouse. The Ellen G. White Estate vault was closed to general access and only special approval allowed material to be released. [t was in this environment that the private manuscript 1888 Re-examined was written for the attention of the General Conference committee and presented to them in 1950.

The contents were serious and far-reaching. It was sensed hat more study was required. Therefore the manuscript was placed n the hands of the Defense Literature Committee, which today las come to be known as the Biblical Research Institute.

After more than a year, a reply was received dated December 6,1951. The brethren said: "We see nothing new in your nanuscript. … If you accept this counsel … you will not wish to press your rather critical views nor to circulate them any further." And so for eight years the manuscript was virtually a clandestine paper surreptitiously copied and passed from friend to friend, around the world. By the year 1958 many of our church members were deeply concerned as to why the document was not accepted by leadership. This situation required an official reply which was provided in a 49-page treatise released in September 1958: "Further Appraisal of the Manuscript '1888 Re-examined'."

It stated that this "Appraisal was prepared by a committee appointed by the Officers of the General Conference." The authors "Appraisal" took a firm stand against 1888 Re-examined and determined that it was based on (1) "inadequate sources of information which resulted in numerous inaccuracies"; (2) "total lack of Biblical background"; (3) "contains a number of contradictions"; (4) "the conclusions set forth in the document could not be accepted."

This official condemnation went on to say that the manuscript shows that "the authors have revealed considerable amateurishness in both research and use of facts"; "the thesis … is a serious reflection upon the literary ethics of its authors"; "it is honeycombed with … fallacious reasoning"; "having proved themselves guilty of distortion of facts and misapplication of statements from the Spirit of Prophecy, the authors … have produced a manuscript that is detrimental to the church." Therefore the pronouncement was made: "any persons referring to, upholding, or even circulating the Wieland and Short manuscript are thereby guilty of improper procedure."

That ban was made forty years ago. What has happened to the thesis of 1888 Re-examined in the hands of modern Israel during the past four decades?


The present generation is acquainted with very little of what took place in the church forty years ago. As far as is known, all the committee members who banned the manuscript in 1958 are now in their graves. But the record set forth in 1888 Re-examined continues to demand consideration. The history of the Minneapolis Conference holds a place in Adventist annals as significant as Israel's crossing the Jordan. The comparisons are awesome.

Israel would have crossed the Jordan forty years before they did had it not been for unbelief within the camp. Almost unconsciously they departed from God. Licentiousness and idolatrous Baal-worship were their downfall, and leading men were among the first to transgress. The apostasy became national, for it was the traitors within the walls that overthrew the strongholds of principle. All of this is clearly portrayed in Patriarchs and Prophets in the chapter, "Apostasy at the Jordan."

Although such gross transgressions have never been named among us, yet the caution is explicit:— "As we approach the close of time, as the people of God stand upon the borders of the heavenly Canaan, Satan will, as of old, redouble his efforts to prevent them from entering the goodly land" (PP 457). We must understand that spiritual immorality and refined Baal-worship can be as deadly as blatant transgression.


The 1958 official rejection of 1888 Re-examined did not quell the interest in the field. Church members continued to raise questions which irked and embarrassed the administration. This led to books published to persuade church members that all is well and that really Minneapolis was a "victory" whereas Ellen White said it was Satan who triumphed (1888 Materials, p. 604).

The present generation needs to know what our pubications have told the church in recent decades. They give to our membership a report comparable to that of the ten spies who said Israel could not go into the promised land—a faithless report.

Over the years some major works have come from our publishing houses, books which ignore and defy the 1,800-page Ellen G. White 1888 Materials which the White Estate published in 1987 in anticipation of the 1988 Minneapolis Centennial. Following is a brief review of seven books written in the past thirty-five years which betray the truth of our history.

1) 1962By Faith Alone, by Norval F. Pease. The Foreword in his book, written by R. R. Figuhr, the then General Conference president, urged "careful reading" because he said the 1888 General Conference had "been variously commented upon by a number of persons, especially in recent months." The President assured the church: "This book sets the record straight."

This highly recommended book was the first of numerous volumes that have been published about 1888. This indicates clearly that anomalies persist, and that this book does not set the record straight.

Pease picks up the perennial downgrading of A. T. Jones, he says his utterances in 1893 were "vehement, almost vitriolic" whereas the written record indicates the opposite. He initiates the supposition that Jones and Waggoner got the 1888 message from the popular Protestant churches and it was the historical doctrine of Luther, Wesley and others.

But the Adventist conscience cannot accept that the "most recious message" the Lord sent in 1888 was merely a doctrine which came from Babylon. Ellen White has defined it as the "third angel's message in verity."

(2)  • 1966—Through Crisis to Victory 1888-1901, by A. V. Olson. This author's book title presents a great mystery, for not once does Ellen White refer to 1888 or 1901 as a "victory." She says that "Satan succeeded in shutting away from our people, in a great measure, the special power of the Holy Spirit" (1SM 234, 235).

A strenuous effort is made to show that only about "twenty-three workers" by name were involved in the opposition to the message (p. 83). But if so, since there were less than 100 delegates at the session, it means the percent of leadership opposition was something like the original opposition in heaven. Ellen White says: "My testimony was ignored, and never in my life experience was I treated as at that conference. … I became the subject of remarks and criticism. … My labors seemed to be in vain" (1888 Materials, pp. 187, 218, 223). "1901" did not change the picture.

Though the author recognizes there was some opposition at the session, the tone of the entire book is one of complacent satisfaction. The reader is told: "We have found many heartening indications of acceptance. In all of this voluminous material we have found only three references to any active opposition to the blessed truth of righteousness by faith" (p. 229). This "three-references" judgment is incomprehensible in view of the scores of Ellen White's statements pointing out the opposition and open rebellion. The author says the trouble is with the laity, "they have neglected, … they have failed, … their poor souls are naked and destitute, … they will soon be rejected by the Lord" (p. 239). This presents what is close to a Roman Catholic philosophy which provides for church leadership to be right with God but a laity that is unresponsive. The book fails to understand what the Lord wanted to do in sending the latter rain and the loud cry.

(3)  1971Movement of Destiny, by LeRoy E. Froom. This 700-page treatise came with astonishing recommendations. At the 1970 General Conference in Atlantic City, 32-page promotional booklets were distributed entitled, "The Fascinating Story of Movement of Destiny." Filling over six-pages were nineteen glowing recommendations for the book by prominent church leaders.

The author claims that his work is to be a "comprehensive portrayal—one that would honor God and exalt truth," "enlighten," "complete and forthright," "documented," "comprehensive," "impartial," "true and trustworthy," "faithful to fact," "unswerving in fidelity," "candid and undeviating," "correcting misconceptions,"—all of which makes it perhaps the most highly acclaimed book in our history.

But the many anomalies presented, however, are wearisome and baffling. The church is told that Minneapolis "introduced a distinctly new epoch, leading to an advanced experience, … a new awakening—a period of revival and reformation. … It aroused the Movement from the complacency of Laodiceanism" (p. 267).

The author considers there is no need for repentance, but rather over twenty times tells us "we should analyze our emphasis, we need … we need to check, analyze, measure, … readjust and recast, … we should throw out any truly obsolete strategy, time-worn methods—possibly good enough for our forefathers, but which are now utterly inappropriate" (pp. 664-666).

He passes judgment on those who in reading our history recognize that it was the leaders primarily who rejected the message in 1888. He proclaims that those who dare express this fact are doing a work which "actually constitutes an impeachment of the dead." Furthermore, he says that from such persons "an explicit confession is due the church" (p. 358).

It is now over twenty-five years since Movement of Destiny was published. Sober reflection declares that no "distinctly new epoch, … awakening … revival and reformation" has come to the church. This book will not bear analysis in the light of Adventist history and the witness of Ellen White.

(4) • 1987—From 1888 to Apostasy: The Case of A. T. Jones, by George R. Knight. This is the author's first of several books about 1888. He states in the Preface that his primary purpose is "to develop Jones's biography." However some thoughtful and intelligent book reviews published in 1988 seriously question this purpose. One reviewer says: "He [Knight] is being totally irresponsible as a biographer. … [The book] is very much worth reading, provided that one can constantly check the source material against the text. … What he has written … is an indictment of Jones" (Adventist Currents, April 1988). Another reviewer says: "There is misuse of documentation as well as subtle undermining of Jones's early messages on righteousness by faith. ...

Knight also manipulates his documentation in such a way to leave a false impression upon the reader" (A Critique, LMN Publishing, 1988).

Yet another reviewer observes: "While reading this book, I began to wonder if Knight wrote this biography to discredit Jones. … While there is a considerable amount of useful information in this book, that information seems so 'tainted' by 'interpretation' that it raises questions about its reliability or accuracy as biography" (Spectrum, Vol. 19, No. 3, p. 61).

The perceptive insight of these reviewers was confirmed by Knight when in a published statement he said: "I was doing my best to demonstrate that Jones was aberrant from beginning to end" (Adventist Currents, April 1988).

Knight pours upon Jones multiplied aspersions and imputations of bad motives and heresies. Yet Jones is the only Seventh-day Adventist minister in history who shared with his colleague E. J. Waggoner what Ellen White said were "heavenly credentials" (1888 Materials, p. 543).

This generation must decide whether to believe the Lord's messenger who counsels us regarding Jones and Waggoner: "I would speak in warning to those who have stood for years resisting light and cherishing the spirit of opposition. How long will you hate and despise the messengers of God's righteousness? God has given them His message. They bear the word of the Lord" (1888 Materials, p. 1341).

(5) 1989Angry Saints, by George R. Knight. This 158-page book of seven chapters has six chapters built upon "Crisis" with the theme being "essentially a study of Adventist history." This volume is a sequel to From 1888 to Apostasy: The Case of A. T. Jones, but it includes some 19 specific derogatory references to the authors of 1888 Re-examined.

Knight would have his readers believe—and he repeats and emphasizes the thought in italics—that the message which Waggoner [and Jones] brought was not "some special Adventist contribution to theology. It was a call to return to basic Christianity" (p. 53). This idea is repeated on page 57, again in italics, with the added slant—"Thus, from Ellen White's perspective, the importance of the 1888 message was not some special Adventist doctrine developed by Jones and Waggoner. Rather, it was the reuniting of Adventism with basic Christianity."

This contention permeates the book and is mentioned at least six more times (pp. 112, 128, 137, 144, 147, 150)—however this view will not stand in the context of The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials. It is an assumption which ignores Ellen White's appraisal of the 1888 message. She says it was the "Lord in His great mercy [who] sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones" (1888 Materials, p. 1336, [TM 91]). Obviously since the Lord sent the message it was not something that Jones and Waggoner invented or gleaned from commentaries, and certainly it does not belong to the Sunday-keeping denominations. Besides claiming that they had no special message, the author tells the reader that Jones' character should be defined as "cocksure," "always right," "abrasiveness," "commanding ways," "assertive," and that "his personality particularly antagonized his opponents" (p. 65).

The book closes with the astounding conclusion that Ellen White considered that the message had been "presented and accepted" by 1895 and "enough had accepted it sufficiently for the denomination to move on its primary mission" (pp. 153, 154).

This seems to ignore what she said over the years following Minneapolis. Never is there a hint that the message was "accepted." On the contrary after the session in 1888 she stated that there was "rejection of light sent by God." In 1896 she said, "the Holy Spirit has been insulted and light has been rejected." In 1899 she said, "they stood in stubborn defiance of truth and light and evidence." And in 1902 she said, "[the] Minneapolis Conference is one of the saddest chapters in the history of the believers in the present truth" (1888 Materials, pp. 226, 1494, 1693, 1796).

Only by disregarding these facts can any scholar proclaim that the message was "accepted." The truth of our history as recorded must be understood and acknowledged by this generation.

(6) • 1994The Nature of Christ, by Roy Adams. This book establishes new low levels of vindictive never before seen in Seventh-day Adventist church publications. The most noted apostates in Adventist history have never been maligned with the vengeance this treatise heaps upon the authors of 1888 Re-Examined as well as on M. L. Andreasen.

Over 50 times the authors are mentioned by name. Dr. Adams says that the "bloodshed and backwardness" of the Middle East, Northern Ireland, Yugoslavia, and the Sudan is what people like the authors wish on us (p. 106).

But more than this, they are placed in "the same continuum" as Jim Jones and David Koresh of Jonestown and Waco disrepute (pp. 109, 110). Dr. Adams considers he has good reason for his indictment. His denunciation is based on his adamant rejection of corporate repentance; he proclaims "that the idea of corporate repentance … has no merit" but even more he says the call for "corporate repentance" is not from the "God of the Bible." To make sure his readers understand his aversion to the idea he repeats—"Corporate repentance. Who demands it of us? I make bold to say it: Not the Lord!"—which can only mean of course the idea comes from Satan (p. 112).

This spiritual insight does not recognize that the Lord Jesus Himself is calling His last-days church to repentance (Rev. 3:19). Dr. Adams' dictum that corporate repentance "has not a single shred of support in the writings of Ellen G. White" (p. 109), ignores the extended pleas found in 1888 Materials. She not only wrote to "leading brethren in Battle Creek" (p. 1010), but she pled with the General Conference in session March 12, 1890, to "fulfill the conditions of repentance and confession" (pp. 906-914).

She sent similar authoritative calls to the entire church through the church paper as published in the Review, August 26, 1890:— "Since the time of Minneapolis. … Those who realize their need of repentance toward God, … will repent for their resistance of the Spirit of the Lord. They will confess their sin of refusing the light that Heaven has so graciously sent them." (p. 695).

If by unbelief our history is rejected for what it says, what cure is there? (For a 16-page review of this book, see: "A Friendly Response to This Amazing Book," available from this publisher).

(7) • 1998—A User-Friendly Guide to the 1888 Message, by George R. Knight. This recent 183-page book predicated upon the 1888 Minneapolis General Conference repeats much that appeared in his previous publications. The reader must determine if the contents really "guide" to the actual 1888 message. This publication comes to the church 40 years after the official rejection of 1888 Re-examined. It is this document which seems to annoy Dr. Knight and furnishes him a thesis to condemn.

His question and answer writing style allows for hypothetical conjectures which begin early in the book. The charge is made that "Jones and Waggoner's theology went through significant transformation between 1888 and 1896" (p. 68). It was during this period that Ellen White spoke hundreds of endorsements of these messengers, telling the church that they had "heavenly credentials." Her approval of them as messengers with a message the Lord "sent" exceeds all commendations given to any other minister in the history of this church.

Dr. Knight does not believe that the 1888 message is a anique Adventist message. He repeats what he has said previously and proclaims:— "Whatever the message was, Paul, Luther, and Wesley shared and preached it" (pp. 83, 86). But can we accept that Paul, Luther, and Wesley preached the third angel's message? Ellen White said that the 1888 message was "the third angel's message in verity," a last-day proclamation never before made prominent. She made clear that "the people need fresh manna" the "message God sent to His people," "precious old truths in a new light" "and especially since the Minneapolis meeting, truths have been made known that have been of great value to the world" (1888 Materials, pp. 167, 429, 430, 432, 1689).

Certainly, Paul taught the truth, the Lord Jesus taught it, but in 1888 at Minneapolis the Lord sent, what Ellen White says, was "the very message for this time to give to the people." It was eternal truth, but it was a new revelation as surely as Christ's message to the Pharisees was new to them. It was far more than the "basic Christianity" which Sunday-keeping churches profess to proclaim (see The Great Controversy, p. 356).

More Than Skewed History, Now We See Perverse Theology

Surely one of the most serious problems in this book is placing fundamental theological truths in dispute. On pages 99 and 100, 1888 Re-examined is condemned because on page vi the statement is made:— "Christ's sacrifice is not merely provisional but effective for the whole world, so that the only reason anybody can be lost is that he has chosen to resist the saving grace of God."

Dr. Knight rejects this and says:— "Far from being born into the family of God and a state of justification, human beings have both only on condition of faith. The doctrine that God 'unconditionally saved all humanity at the cross' and the only way to be lost is to 'willfully and persistently' reject 'God's gift of salvation in Christ' is foreign to Ellen White, Waggoner, and the Bible." What is the witness of these three?

Bible:— Dr. Knight misses the many Bible texts that are clear. Repeatedly the truth is stated that Christ's sacrifice is for "the sins of the whole world," He is the "Saviour of the world," "Christ died for the ungodly," He "gave Himself a ransom for all," He "loved the world. … that the world might be saved" (1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:14; 2 Cor. 5:19; Rom. 5:1, 6,12-20; 1 Tim. 2:3-6; John 3:16-19; John 6:33; John 6:51; etc.), and all of this from the foundation of the world!

EGW:— Ellen White says the same thing which these few statements confirm:— "He restored the whole race of men to favor with God" (1SM 343); "All men have been bought. … All men are the Lord's property" (COL 326); "He has signed the emancipation papers of the whole race" (MH 90); "He redeemed Adam's disgraceful fall, and saved the world. With His human arm, Christ encircled the race" (My Life Today, p. 323), etc.

EJW:— Likewise Waggoner makes it clear:—"Christ has tasted death for every man. He has given himself for all. Nay, he has given himself to every man" (Waggoner on Romans, p. 5.101); and the same theology is repeated in The Gospel in the Book of Galatians, pp. 29, 30, 54, 63. Furthermore, in his notable work, The Glad Tidings, he proclaims the same theological truth:—"The judgment will reveal the fact that full salvation was given to every man and that the lost have deliberately thrown away their birthright possession" (p. 14, also pp. 61 and 66).

ATJ:— Jones stands with Waggoner in opposition to Knight for he explains in The Consecrated Way, pp. 82,83: "In His coming in the flesh—... He has identified Himself with every human soul just where that soul is. … He has endowed every soul with divine right to walk in this consecrated way." The same truth is expressed in the 1895 General Conference Bulletin: "Without our consent at all, … we were all included in the first Adam; we were there. … Jesus Christ, the second man, took our sinful nature. … And so in him and by that, every man that has ever lived upon the earth … is involved in this. … No one will die the second death who has not chosen sin rather than righteousness, death rather than life" (pp. 268, 269).

Notwithstanding Knight's denial, the documentation is beyond equivocation—Christ restored the whole human race to favor with God and humanity had nothing to do with this—"while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us"—whether believers or unbelievers, all men are the Lord's property. This is a vital element of the 1888 message which the Bible, Ellen White, and Waggoner, as well as Jones, all confirm and which the church membership and the world desperately need to know and believe.

This volume repeats the same fallacy found in his earlier work, Angry Saints. It is claimed that Ellen White, Jones, and Waggoner agreed that the church had largely accepted the message by 1895 (p. 148). This ignores the Ellen White record in 1888 Materials where over some twelve years she repeatedly used the terms "rejected," "rejection," or "rejecting" and by count said this more than 75 times in relation to the message and the messengers. There is no documentation in context that supports "acceptance," and it is futile to try to prove otherwise. Such a course rejects the call for repentance which comes from the Lord Jesus Himself (Rev. 3:19).

Dr. Knight tells the church that "corporate repentance" is only an idea produced by 1888 Re-examined. In italics he proclaims "there was no such thing as corporate and denominational rejection" (p. 150). It is clear there was rejection, and Ellen White says so. At the same time she called for repentance to the church assembled in Battle Creek for the General Conference session March 12, 1890. From her solemn statements some few must be considered:

"It is a serious matter to stand as did Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, to become so self-deceived as to call darkness light and light darkness, to regard the truths of the third angel's message as error, and to accept error as truth. … The reception given to God's servants in past ages is the same as the reception that those to-day receive through whom God is sending precious rays of light. The leaders of the people to-day pursue the same course of action that the Jews pursued. … Men have placed themselves where they are wholly unable to fulfill the conditions of repentance and confession. … The sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit does not lie in any sudden word or deed. … In rejecting the message given at Minneapolis, men committed sin" (1888 Materials, pp. 906, 907, 911, 913).

For church members who did not attend the Session, they were able to read the same sentiments published in the Review.

"Since the time of the Minneapolis meeting, I have seen the state of the Laodicean Church as never before. … Like the Jews many have closed their eyes lest they should see. … Those who realize their need of repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, will have contrition of soul, will repent for their resistance of the Spirit of the Lord. They will confess their sin in refusing the light that Heaven has so graciously sent them, and they will forsake the sin that grieved and insulted the Spirit of the Lord" (1888 Materials, p. 695 [RH 7-26-90]). (Similar indictments: pp. 765, 901, 904 [GCB 1891], 765 [RH 12-23-90].)

The thesis, the content and the thrust of Dr. Knight's book can not "guide" to the 1888 message. In a fair court of law would it defeat the charge of perjury? (For a 32-page documentation of evidence see: "An Urgent Look at Adventist History," available from this publisher.)


The seven books listed above do not stand alone in their rejection of our history. We have published other books with the same false bias. There is a parallel rejection from official quarters, and in-house denominational publications prove this. When in the late 1950s the concern and questions about 1888 Re-examined were on the increase from our church members, there was also official anxiety as to how to overcome the dilemma. This accounts for the General Conference President advocating in 1962 the book By Faith Alone.

At the same time the Ellen G. White Estate stepped forward to add counteracting support. To do this an Ellen White book that had been in the church for nearly forty years was republished with incredible unwarranted editorial additions. This was when the Estate vault was closed to the average person and there was no way to know what was actually in the records.

A Standard Work Gets Remodeled By the Compilers

Testimonies to Ministers—In 1962 the denomination published a new edition of this book with a serious attempt to cover-up. There had been two previous editions. The first came in 1923 and stated in the Preface:—"The General Conference held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1888, marked a crisis in the work of the great threefold message." The second edition came to the church in 1944. But neither of these had the special treatment afforded in the current 1962 edition.

This edition has a 22-page Historical Foreword not found in either previous two editions. It closes on page xxxvi with the true self-evident statement:—"It is not the work of the custodians of the Ellen G. White Writings to explain or interpret the counsels which have been given." True! Yet no other E. G. White book, up to this time, had such an extended explanatory foreword with the dedicated purpose to prejudice any reader of our 1888 history.

Added to this "Historical Foreword" is a 14-page Appendix not found in her other books which makes this publication unique, having 36 extra pages which are not in the first two editions. Notwithstanding the denial to "explain or interpret," there is an added particular five-page Preface to the Third Edition, which proclaims on page xi: "These notes will aid the reader in ascertaining correctly the intent of the author in the messages here presented." Strange philosophy that church members need aid in understanding what Ellen White says, when it has been denied that such help is needed!

This book has more pages of Ellen White warning and entreaty with specific reference to our 1888 history than any other publication. To counteract this counsel the Compilers added the extraneous comments. Of the forty-odd entries in the Appendix, the largest number refer to our 1888 history. The obvious goal is to offset the written record and to condition the reader to believe that 1888 was a victory which Dr. LeRoy Froom says "aroused the Movement from the complacency of Laodiceanism."

Another E. G. White Book with Notes to Explain and Interpret

Selected Messages, Book Three—In 1980 this compilation was released by the Trustees of the Ellen G. White Publications, with a special 33-page account of the Minneapolis Conference. As was done in the 1962 edition of Testimonies to Ministers, the Compilers considered it necessary to insert seven pages of their ideas to condition the reader. The section is introduced by, "A Statement Presenting the Historical Backgrounds." It is claimed that: "The session itself was quite routine," yet in contrast it is noted, "the theological discussion … made the 1888 meeting different from any other General Conference in Adventist history." Twice reference is made to a vote not being taken on doctrinal discussions. "No conference actions were taken" (p. 159), yet the 1893 General Conference Bulletin indicates that a vote was taken (p. 244).

This "Background" tells the church that A. V. Olson's Through Crisis to Victory "documents the gradual change for the better that ensued in the five or six years after Minneapolis," which defies the historical record (p. 162). The inescapable facts force the Compilers to acknowledge that "there was a tragic setback in the advancement of the cause of God."

But then the amazing statement is made, "Ellen White recognized this and at times mentioned it, usually in incidental statements. At no time, however, did she intimate or declare that there was an official rejection by the church leaders of the precious message brought to the attention of the General Conference in 1888."

Ellen White did not fulfill her calling with "incidental statements." The 1888 Minneapolis session was her deep concern for over a decade as the published record proves. The actual rejection she repeatedly confirmed establishes a de facto "official rejection" made clear in the record. What she said has no hidden meaning and requires no interpretation. To read her words is to know her intent: "Satan succeeded in shutting away from our people, in a great measure, the special power of the Holy Spirit that God longed to impart to them." She goes on to say in this profound 1896 statement: "The light that is to lighten the whole earth with its glory was resisted, and by the action of our own brethren has been kept away from the world" (1SM 234, 235).

To appreciate the innuendo in favor of all-is-well, this "Historical Background" must be read carefully.

Her Biographer Adds to the Denial of Rejection

Ellen G. White, The Lonely Years, 1876—1891, Volume 3, by Arthur L. White (1983). This volume three of the six-volume biography of Ellen White covers her life from her early fifties until she was 64 and by General Conference vote in March 1891 was exiled to Australia (GCB 1891, p. 256).

Her sailing date after weeks of soul searching came in November, but after arriving she expressed her firm conviction: "The Lord was not in our leaving America. … The Lord did not plan this. … We were needed at the heart of the work. … There was so great a willingness to have us leave. … Those who were weary of the testimonies borne were left without the persons who bore them. … It was not the Lord who devised this matter. … When we left, relief was felt by many,... and the Lord was displeased. … [our leaving] was the result of man's devising, and not the Lord's. … There is a power from beneath that is taking hold of minds" (1888 Materials, pp. 1622-1624).

This vote of the General Conference that she go to Australia was but a little over two years after the notable Minneapolis session. She says the leadership was "weary of the testimonies borne" as the recorded history confirms. The 1888 Materials provide a remarkable record in the Table of Contents. In the year of the session beginning in October, there are 22 Letters and Manuscripts listed; in 1889 there are 33; but in 1890, the year before she was sent away, there are 51 entries. She knew whereof she spoke, "they were weary of the testimonies borne."

But her biographer would have the church believe that the theological discussions at the session were of minor consequence; he says they were "but one of many pressing matters." He lists 14 points to establish his thesis, but number 8 (p. 396) seems beyond belief as he proclaims:

"The concept that the General Conference, and thus the denomination, rejected the message of righteousness by faith in 1888 is without foundation* and was not projected until forty years after the Minneapolis meeting, and thirteen years after Ellen White's death. Contemporary records yield no suggestion of denominational rejection. There is no E. G. White statement anywhere that says this was so."

This extraordinary statement (1) defies the numerous E. G. White charges made over a period of twelve years as recorded in 1888 Materials and noted above under A User-friendly Guide. (2) It ignores the chapter in Testimonies to Ministers that is entitled "Rejecting the Light" (pp. 91-98). (3) It denies the 1896 statement that the light that is to lighten the whole world "by the action of our own brethren has been in a great degree kept away from the world" (1SM 235). (4) This statement disregards the reality that the church membership as a whole, the "denomination," never had an opportunity to hear the message clearly, for it was blocked by the leading brethren. (5) It is incredible to state that it took "forty years" before someone recognized the rejection and that this was "thirteen years after Ellen White's death."

While the session was still in progress Ellen White was pleading publicly and in private letters for leadership to sense their responsibilities. The record is clear in The 1888 Materials. Here are eight statements as samples of what she preached and wrote without equivocation on four different occasions during the conference:

(1) "The spirit and influence of the ministers generally who have come to this meeting is to discard light" (p. 86); (2) "The Lord has presented before me that men in responsible positions are standing directly in the way of the workings of God upon his people" (p. 113); (3) "God is presenting to the minds of men divinely appointed precious gems of truth, appropriate for this time" (p. 139); (4) "Truth of heavenly origin is confronting Satan's falsehoods, and this truth will prevail" (p. 140); (5) "What was the use of our assembling here together and for our ministering brethren to come in if they are here only to shut out the Spirit of God from the people? … I never was more alarmed than at the present time" (p. 151); (6) "Brethren, light has come to us and we want to be where we can grasp it. … If the ministers will not receive the light, I want to give the people a chance; perhaps they may receive it" (p. 152);

(7) "No one must be permitted to close the avenues whereby the light of truth shall come to the people" (p. 171); (8) "As the Jews refused the light of the world, so many of those who claim to believe the present truth will refuse light which the Lord will send to His people [Rev. 3:14-21 quoted]. … In this conference we are sowing seeds that will yield a harvest, and the results will be as enduring as eternity" (p. 174).

The far-reaching spiritual implications expressed in these statements are terrible to contemplate. God's people need to know about them. After over 100 years the "harvest" of lukewarmness in the church is all too evident and it remains to be seen what the results will be in "eternity."

Why should an attempt be made to deny these "contemporary records" which over the next decade following Minneapolis were ever made more specific by the Lord's messenger? When Ellen White speaks to "men in responsible positions" she is talking to the General Conference leadership. She did not hesitate to use the word "rejection," and a hundred times makes the comparison, "just like the Jews." But the rejection of the message and messengers, terrible as it was, was the outward sign of unbelief resulting in greater inward sin.

There are other published statements that deny our history. See the editorial comments made by the Secretary of the White Estate regarding G. I. Butler and the Minneapolis Conference. These are intended to nullify what actually took place and are inserted in 1888 Materials, p. 85. A. V. Olson's book considered above, is again recommended.

See The Australian Years, (1983) by Arthur White, p. 11; he states that "the Bible-based doctrine of justification by faith was by 1891 quite generally accepted." Five years later in 1896 Ellen White made her most emphatic opposing statement that "Satan succeeded. … Light … has been in a great degree kept away from the world," etc.

Scholars and Compilers Cannot Change History

Our true history of the 1888 Minneapolis General Conference Session is sealed and cannot be amended. The record the Lord's messenger has provided cannot be altered, even by deception. The "terrible" experience at this session was not just the mistreatment of men, but was an affront to Heaven. Writing from Australia in 1896 Ellen White portrays the rebellion specifically:

"If men would only give up their spirit of resistance to the Holy Spirit, the spirit which has long been leaving their religious experience, God's Spirit would address itself to their hearts. It would convince of sin. What a work! But the Holy Spirit has been insulted and light has been rejected. Is it possible for those who for years have been so blind to see? Is it possible that in this late stage of their resistance their eyes will be anointed? Will the voice of the Spirit of God be distinguished from the deceiving voice of the enemy?" (1888 Materials, p. 1494).

How tragic that mortal man trifles with God's Spirit of truth, aggravated to the point that the Holy Spirit was "insulted." But the Lord's messenger describes even more serious crimes the church must understand:

"On many occasions the Holy Spirit did work, but those who resisted the Spirit of God at Minneapolis were waiting for a chance to travel over the same ground again, because their spirit was the same. Afterward, when they had evidence heaped upon evidence, some were convicted, but those who were not softened and subdued by the Holy Spirit's working, put their own interpretation upon every manifestation of the grace of God, and they have lost much. They pronounced in their heart and soul and words that this manifestation of the Holy Spirit was fanaticism and delusion. They stood like a rock, the waves of mercy flowing upon and around them, but beaten back by their hard and wicked hearts, which resisted the Holy Spirit's working. Had this been received, it would have made them wise unto salvation; holier men, prepared to do the work of God with sanctified ability. But all the universe of heaven witnessed the disgraceful treatment of Jesus Christ, represented by the Holy Spirit. Had Christ been before them, they would have treated him in a manner similar to that in which the Jews treated Christ" (1888 Materials, pp. 1478, 1479).

The whole world knows how the Jews brought Christ to trial and crucified Him, but how many know that in our history we would have done the same thing if Christ personally had been in our midst? Scholars and compilers and biographers can never change this record. Our position in sacred history is parallel with the Jews. They are at the beginning and we at the end, but the record shows our rebellion to be greater than theirs because we have the entire Bible to warn us. Multiplied denials published in books which distort and defy our history cannot alter truth.

This is not an involved theological problem for postgraduates to debate. After 40 years the most humble church member who can read should be able to discern the truth of our history. Honest witnesses can see it is a self-evident case of defiance, calling light darkness. Our self esteem has overcome our conscience and the commandments have been cast down. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not bear false witness."


No sin is too great to prevent repentance or forgiveness. Something must happen in the end-time that has never happened before. Millenniums of defeat must be reversed. This is the only way the cleansing of the sanctuary can be accomplished.

The prophecy of Daniel declares the sanctuary "shall" be cleansed. The infidelity of Laodicea will be cured by repentance both individually and corporately.

Sacred history confirms that a nation can repent which means a denomination can do so also. But repentance demands an understanding of the sin. Until we see ourselves standing with our brethren one hundred years ago as they insulted the Holy Spirit, and even worse, put Christ on the cross, we shall continue to reject the gift of repentance. Until we sense that we are bearing false witness in the court of the universe, we will continue to assert that we "have need of nothing." The attitude we hold toward our history proves we do not understand what happened a century ago. All that they did we perpetuate, whereas the Lord would have us see our own sinful hearts and accept His gift of repentance, recognizing we are in the same need as they. This means that all these decades since 1888 Laodicea has been refusing this blessed gift. This is the true measure of the sin of "the angel" of this last church.

However, Ninevah stands as proof that a corporate body as a whole can repent "from the greatest … to the least" (Jonah 3:5). The Holy Spirit will make effective the message the Lord sent over 100 years ago, but this cannot happen until the "angel," which is the leadership, sees and knows and is willing to listen and accept His counsel in Revelation 3:14-21.

The cry of Christ from the cross for the forgiveness of His tormentors, "for they know not," echoes through to the last church where He again says, "thou … knowest not." The two supreme unknown sins of the human race await comprehension to the fullest. The depth of our enmity toward Christ is not yet understood, but it must be revealed in order for the sanctuary to be cleansed. As long as we refuse to face our 1888 history the Lord's hands are tied, and the sanctuary cannot be cleansed. Jesus made this clear when He proclaimed: "If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth" (John 9:41).

The books we continue to publish which distort and falsify our history promote unbelief and prevent the Holy Spirit from guiding into all truth and thus thwart the gospel plan to have a people who overcome even as He overcame. This attainment is certified by the Revelator in his assurance that the "redeemed from among men" have "no guile in their mouth;" they are "without fault;" they embrace the reality of their history no matter how self-humbling, and with thankfulness they accept the gift of repentance.

While in general the ministry and administration with dedication scoff and ridicule the facts of our 1888 history and deny the call of the True Witness for corporate and denominational repentance, just so long will Laodicea stand transfixed by its own perceived "need of nothing." This repeats the unbelief of ancient Israel as they accepted the report of the ten false spies — Jordan could not be crossed. The forty years of Israel's wandering has turned into a century for modern Israel, and the generation that should have gone into heavenly Canaan is in their graves. Unbelief has hindered the Spirit's work so that our own history has become a snare and a delusion.

WITH YOUR FATHERS" — Zechariah 1:2

Seventh-day Adventist history will stand throughout eternity. The only thing God's people can do is recognize it, put away the all-is-well syndrome, confess and accept the gift of repentance. The prophet Zechariah makes this clear. He foretells of a wondrous day when "the burden of the word of the Lord for Israel" would take on new dimensions. As the Lord pours upon His people the "spirit of grace and of supplications" they will at last know their sin and mourn for Him. Jerusalem (the people of God) will fulfill a new glorious place under the Lord's care. They will understand that they were the ones who wounded His hands and pierced His side. Their remorse, their mourning and their repentance, will be unique in the entire history of Adam's children.

From the king and all his counselors (church administration at all levels) to the lowest servant in Jerusalem (from the oldest member to the most recently baptized), there will be a "spirit of grace and supplications" because now they sense how they have insulted the Holy Spirit and they see sin for what it is (Zech. 12:9-11; 13:6).

The ultimate experience awaiting the church is a taste of what Jesus went through in Gethsemane. Only His very own will be willing to accept it, but His faith will be rewarded as His confidence is staked on a people who will take up His cross and follow after Him. As Christ forsook heaven with no assurance that He would ever return so that sin and death would be eradicated from the universe, so His Bride out of faith and true love will stand at His side without concern for receiving her reward.

In the meantime the Lord can only wait until His people gladly accept the "eyesalve"—to see all the truth He has for them, including their rebellious history. They will come to fulfill the same role that Christ filled when He was on earth. That "short period of three years was as long as the world could endure the presence of the Redeemer" (DA 541).

When the power of Satan is broken among the Lord's people, the finally unrepentant and unbelieving world will not wish longer to endure their presence. A revival of primitive godliness will demonstrate true righteousness by faith, that union He longs for as He continues knocking at our heart's door.

There is no need for another generation. Repentance can come now. It's time to cross Jordan.

EXCURSUS —The Fourth Paper

The ten volumes listed above, seven from our scholars and three from the White Estate, all dealing with our 1888 history, have been the subject of this document. Of the six authors involved, four are in their graves. The biography of Ellen White and the comments in the other two of her books came from the same author, and he too is resting. This means that the two living authors are the ones called to account for what they have said in their books. Each one has seen critiques published that question the content of their works. In 1988, From 1888 to Apostasy was reviewed in a 43-page booklet, A. T. Jones: The Man and The Message. In 1994 a 16-page summary, "A Friendly Response" was published to refute The Nature of Christ. The most recent work, A User-Friendly Guide to the 1888 Message, (1998) has been reviewed in a 32-page response, "An Urgent Look at Adventist History."

These critiques have been based on the content of each book. It may be that now after several years the two authors would write differently if their work should be redone. But the 1888 Minneapolis history will stand. What is said about it will not change the record in heaven.

End of Section Four — The Fourth Paper — Compiled in April 1999

Primacy of the Gospel Committee • Andrews University • May 14-16,1999

See Appendix C for covering letter, July 20,1999

* Editorial note: The issue has never been whether the church leadership rejected the historic Protestant doctrine of "righteousness by faith." Did the brethren "in a great degree" reject "the beginning" of the loud cry of Revelation 18 and the initial "showers from heaven of the latter rain"? Much different!

Read Section #5 — "Are We Blind Also?"

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