Let History Speak
Let History Speak

Half a century ago the General Conference Committee of Seventh-day Adventists received a serious manuscript that continues to stir discussion pro and con. This 204-page document, 1888 Re-examined, was officially rejected in 1951, and has continually been condemned. The General Conference members of the Primacy of the Gospel Committee on February 8, 2000 also reacted negatively to its thesis.

But the question remains: what is the testimony of the Bible, of Ellen White, and of the "messengers" the Lord sent in 1888? What does history say?

In anticipation of the Centennial of the 1888 Minneapolis Session, this original mimeographed manuscript was finally published in 1987. Sincere Adventist laity, workers, and ordained ministers have become deeply interested. Growing out of concern that the "most precious message" of righteousness by faith which the Lord sent us in the 1888 era should be proclaimed to the world, some pastors and laity in 1985 formed the 1888 Message Study Committee. This group has published material pointing out that there is an essential preparation we must all make before the final outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the Latter Rain can come.

Because some church administrators have not seen matters in this light, General Conference leadership appointed the Primacy of the Gospel Committee in 1994 in a sincere effort to seek for understanding and unity. The original intent of this ad hoc Committee was not to judge or condemn the 1888 Message Study Committee, but to study the 1888 message itself: is it biblical, or is it not? The most competent scholars and theologians available were appointed to be members. In addition, the General Conference appointed six from the Board of the 1888 Message Study Committee to be members.

Following the first meeting May 12, 1994, the committee met nine times during five years, with the last one February 8, 2000. During that period the six 1888 Message Study Committee members presented in the formal meetings over 150 pages of monographs and outline studies relevant to the 1888 message, but they were ultimately largely determined as "Areas With Disagreement" in the final Primacy of the Gospel Committee Report prepared by the members from the General Conference, Andrews and Loma Linda Universities (see Appendix A).

Additional Historical Witness

Besides the formal papers presented during the meetings, one of the six members from the 1888 Message Study Committee felt constrained to prepare six additional compilations. These were sent to all Primacy Committee members from May 14, 1999, to January 2000.

These papers deal with major matters which the General Conference members of the Primacy Committee agreed to reject in their final Majority "Report. " It would seem that these six documents were either not read or were ignored. A wider group of Seventh-day Adventist church members and leaders will be interested.

The General Conference have agreed that fairness demands that the world church have a chance to know firsthand what the 1888 Message Study Committee presented to them during those crucial five years of study. (Ten Bible studies also presented to them are published in a small book entitled, What Is the 1888 Message? Is It Biblical? An Answer to Inquiries.)

It was originally understood that if the Primacy Committee should eventually conclude without unanimity, the Minority Report should be published by the General Conference as well as the Majority one, because the six from the 1888 Message Study Committee were appointed as members, and were not invited merely as guests. In matters of such grave concern, it is commonly understood that if any responsible committee ends in pronounced disunity, both the majority and minority reports should be made available to constituents. History must be allowed to speak.

Read Section #1 — "Acquittal and Life for All Men" — The Bible, Ellen White, and the 1888 Messengers Confirm the Gift of Justification for the Whole World

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