The Mystery of 1888 — Chapter 4


History versus Froom — Leaving the specific field of pitting one man’s understanding against another as found in the previous section, Daniells versus Froom, it is now important to weigh certain premises of Froom against history and the spiritual understanding “we” have as a people and in particular against the knowledge “we” must have as ministers called to be “the angel of the church of the Laodiceans.”

The credentials of the book Movement of Destiny are very impressive, perhaps without parallel in the denomination’s history. The book is said to have been “commissioned” by a former General Conference president and “approved” by five successive presidents “and many consultants.” It “was made possible by the contribution of hundreds of priceless source documents from individual and institutional donors, archivists, librarians, and collectors, as well as affidavits of actual participants in the 1888 Minneapolis Conference, and rare documents from descendants of pioneers. … It was read critically by some sixty of our ablest scholars-specialists … by key Bible teachers, editors, mass communications men, scientists, physicians, and by veteran leaders with vivid memories and extensive backgrounds.” (P. 8.) This is not the whole list!

It would seem to be certain that if prestige and native ability and sheer numbers could establish truth, this book would have a certified pedigree above question and beyond reproach. Unfortunately this is not the case. From the point of historical research and the validation of certain critical and very important areas, there is no authority cited or suggested. From a theological
and/or spiritual analysis, similar large problems are very evident. Without attempting a critical appraisal of the entire book as a whole or necessarily in any particular sequence, yet some of the inescapable conflicts and relevant problems must be listed as follows.

  1. Froom declares the Conference “marked the turning point in our history.” Furthermore, in 1887, Ellen G. White “called for a revival of primitive godliness” and that “revival began following the conference. … The epochal Minneapolis Session stands out like a mountain peak, towering above all other sessions in uniqueness and importance. It was a distinct turning point. Nothing like it had occurred before, and none has since been comparable to it. It definitely introduced a new epoch. … 1888 therefore came to mark the beginning of a new note and new day, the significance of which was not fully sensed at the time. 1888 was not a point of defeat but a turn in the tide for ultimate victory. … few today are really aware of the tremendous issues centering in and revolving around the 1888 turning point in our history — of the battle hard fought and the victory so dearly won.” (Pp. 174, 186, 187, 191.) Can this idea of “victory” be upheld? Who had the “victory”? Can any true-hearted SDA believe that since 1888 “we” turned and have really had a “revival”? Where did Laodicea begin and/or has it now ended? The implications of the “victory” philosophy will not stand before history or reason. The sincere and genuine call made at the Annual Council of 1973 should make it abundantly clear that the church is still looking for “victory” and it has been driven to the conclusion that the message of Christ to the Laodiceans has not been clearly understood or adequately heeded. “We” cannot have a “victory” and a defeat at the same time. History demands either the Lord God or Baal — never can it be both!

To confirm the “victory” philosophy, an impressive array of declarations are made. The assurance is given that — ”Here a change of concept and direction began to take place in the Movement. … we take our places … seeing and hearing … through the trustworthy eyes and ears of prominent individuals who were personally there. … some twenty-six able and representative men and women who were actual participants, observers, or recorders at the crucial Minneapolis Session of ‘88.” (Pp. 238,239.)

From a historical point of view, immense problems present themselves as an analysis is made of the “affidavits” of the twenty-six. A tabulation of these gives the following information.

    1. A careful count indicates that twenty-two persons actually are referred to as having given “priceless insights into inner aspects of the Minneapolis Conference. … personal portrayals, based on eyewitness and personal-participant attestations.” (P. 237.) The slight difference between 22 and 26 is not critical, but merely noted.
    2. Of the total number of “attestations” provided, only 13 persons giving such were actually in attendance at the Conference. This means that only 13 persons could be “eyewitnesses” and not 26.
    3. Sixty-four references are made to the 26 persons and their letters or interviews. Repeated reference is made to certain witnesses, one being mentioned 14 times with others much less but a mean figure of 2.46 times per person becoming evident.
    4. The average age of those attending the Conference (“eyewitnesses” is 33.5 years, based on 10 participants whose age could be verified. (Youngest 30, oldest 38.)
    5. The average age of the entire group reporting subsequently, mostly in the year 1930, is 74.6 years. (Youngest 63, oldest 80.)
    6. With one exception, the letter of A. T. Jones to C. E. Holmes in 1921, all “affidavits” were made at least 42 years after the 1888 session, that is, in 1930, and another two respectively were made 64 and 76 years after the Conference.
    7. With one exception, there is not a single complete sentence quoted from any of the entire sixty-four references made, “eyewitness” or otherwise.

Reason compels that certain questions be raised. Why should all these testimonies which are said to prove so much — why should they be kept secret and “confidential” for over 40 years while the world plunges on to destruction?

Why should not “eyewitnesses” be allowed to speak in their own words and give a verbatim report, if it is really “priceless”?

Why is it that even by inference not a single witness in all the 26 gives any indication that 1888 can be considered a “victory”?

Is there a court or a jury that would give much credence to the testimony of men in their seventies relating an experience that transpired over 40 years previously but even more astonishingly when called to the witness stand were not allowed to speak their own words?

Why should it be categorically stated in italics, “There was no denomination-wide, or leadership-wide rejection, these witnesses insisted,” (P. 256) and yet not one person of the 26 is quoted to this effect?

The situation here portrayed adds to the great mystery!

There is a further point that must be noted in this context of “eyewitnesses” and the support of certain assertions. The question must be asked, Where does historical authority lie and what constitutes an “authoritative account”? (Cf. P. 189.) It needs to be remembered that two sources to which Froom refers are Arthur W. Spalding and Lewis H. Christian. But Spalding did not attend the 1888 Conference. He was eleven years old at the time. (1877 - 1953) Christian was a high-school student at the time, seventeen years old. (1871 - 1949) He passed through Minneapolis during the session and attended at least one meeting the first day, as well as the meeting that evening and heard Mrs. White speak the following day. (Cf. Christian, Pp. 43-45.) (See also Froom, P. 239: “ … our SDA historians Spalding and Christian … ) What is it that makes these men the source of so much authority on this Conference? This is a further mystery.

  1. Repeatedly throughout the book, reference is made to “some” accepting and “some” rejecting. (P. 299, etc.) If this is a fact, why should the Lord continue to speak in such emphatic terms to the entire Conference when only “some,” less than the majority and not “leaders” were involved? Why were the messages of the Lord’s servant increasingly more pointed as the Conference drew to a close? Why should the entire conference time be taken up simply because “some” were out of harmony? Why should it be that for years Minneapolis was referred to by name and the rebellious spirit of Minneapolis was repeatedly brought to the attention of the leaders? If it was only “some” perhaps few, why should the Lord continue for over eighty years to chastise His people, the entire Remnant, by keeping them in this world when so “many” seem desirous of getting into heaven?
  2. What really constitutes testimony and what sort of testimony is the “Testimony of Best Informed … those who have made the most complete study of this whole question through unprejudiced examination of the sources”? The testimony of twelve persons, said to be the best, must be considered (P. 370).
    1. A. G. Daniells — His testimony has been considered as given in his book, Christ Our Righteousness. His conclusions do not agree with Froom.
    2. W. W. Prescott — There is not a single sentence of quotation from him. There is no intimation, nothing indicating “victory.” On the contrary “he saw the ‘hard cutting spirit’ manifested by the opposition.” (P. 254.) Because of this he absented himself from part of the meeting. His actual understanding as given by himself at the time and subsequently may be found in the General Conference Bulletin 1893, Pp. 38, 39, 67, 107. He quotes Ellen G. White, R&H, Nov. 22, 1892: “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.” He affirms the “loud cry and the latter rain go together. As the time has come for the loud cry it has also come for the latter rain.” (G. C. Bulletin, 1893, P. 39.) He further states: “Standing this side of events that have taken place the last four years we ask, Has it been fulfilled? Some think they do not need the righteousness of Christ, and others oppose it.” (Loc. cit.) Does this sound like “victory,” and this was in 1893! His plea was to sense the fact that the loud cry of the third angel’s message had come but had not been received. He makes reference to the Jews’ experience: “They rejected Jesus Christ and then put him to death, because he did not come and meet their ideas, their own plan and interpretation of the prophecies, and because he did not meet their ideas and did not conform to their plan, they rejected him and put him to death. In the same way, Jesus Christ is being rejected today, and crucified afresh.” (Op. cit., p. 107.)

As strange as it may seem, W. W. Prescott was very frank in his comment in a way directly opposed to Froom’s inference. Thirteen years after 1888, at the time of the 1901 session, Prescott bluntly stated that he saw the need among the ministers for a spirit of repentance such as many have not known for many years. He goes on to say that confusion and darkness will not be overcome by outward form of organization. It seems quite clear he did not consider either 1888 or 1901 as anything to be called victory. To see this in his own words, note the following:

I have not seen, and do not see now in this Conference, that real response to the message that God has sent us, that will be of any effective result in His work. I am willing to face the fact, but it is a fact. I saw that there ought to come upon us, ministers of the word for Jesus Christ, such a spirit of repentance as many of us have not known for many years. There ought to be a work wrought at this Conference that we have seen no signs of yet. … God must work. He must put power on someone who is willing to receive it, who will stand forth and give the message with clearness and power and lead the way out of the confusion and darkness. It will not be by outward form of organization. Our minds have been busily occupied during the last week formulating plans for organization, and my own spiritual sense has said to me that we have been losing ground in the work of organization. Do not think that it will be by change of plan, by change of administration, by a new way of doing things. The change that is needed is a complete change of heart. … Christ did not have to call His people together, and tell them that their method of organization was wrong, and that He had new plans by which to work. … It is not in this outward form and plan of operation. That is all right, it ought to be changed; but if our minds are resting upon that, the work will not be accomplished in that way.” (G.C. Bulletin, 1901, Pp. 321, 322.)

The grave seriousness of this kind of testimony cannot be ignored. There is obvious discrepancy between this and that which is inferred as being his testimony.

    1. A. O. Tait — The evidence is certain that Tait was of such a character that Ellen G. White considered she could confide in him. She corresponded with him and years after the Conference revealed matters to him of a most serious nature, grave in their implications and with meaning that cannot be questioned. Statements that the incumbent President “has not acted upon the light given” (EGW to OAT, Aug. 27, 1896), and “has ventured on, directly contrary to the light which the Lord has been giving him,” are most significant. Her confidence in him was such that she could state that the chief officer of the church was under the inspiration of Satan. As revealing and astonishing, indeed overwhelming in portent as this is, yet it does not provide a single word from the man himself even though he undoubtedly was in sympathy with the stand of Ellen White. His actual “testimony” is not given.
    2. Oliver Montgomery — Undoubtedly a leader, but again not a single sentence of testimony quoted.
    3. L. H. Christian, A. W. Spalding, A. V. Olson, Norval Pease, A. L. White — Chronologically their work is Pease I, (1945); Christian, (1947); Spalding, (1949); White (1958); and Olson, (1966). The viewpoints of these men are generally in harmony with Froom. One builds upon the other, yet the differences are great. These require consideration on their own which is taken up subsequently.
    4. R. L. Odom — Surely a researcher of no mean caliber. The three volumes of the Index bear witness to his proficient and tireless labors. But where is his “testimony”? Not one line is to be found in Froom.
    5. L. E. Froom — The author himself is listed as the eleventh on the list of twelve. His testimony is evident enough. It is this, his testimony that is under study.
    6. Ellen G. White — “The chosen messenger to the Remnant,” is above all others the one bearing testimony that delineates precisely what happened at 1888. Because of this true testimony the entire matter has been placed in a terribly serious setting having far-reaching implications! Her testimony must be considered on its own in due course.

Of the twelve witnesses here listed and said to be the “best informed,” it would seem that two are in a special group, Daniells and E. G. White. They stand together. The other ten are either silent or bear varying testimonies. Why should these be called the “best informed”? If the matter rests on their witness the case is in jeopardy. The testimony among the witnesses is not in agreement!

  1. Beginning on page 370, Froom makes a fourteen-point summation and these points are said to be the “Verdict of Determining Evidence” to attest “the fact that the denomination as a whole, and its leadership in particular, did not reject the message and provisions of Righteousness by Faith in and following 1888.” These points need to be considered briefly.
    1. No vote was taken by the delegate leadership, … rejecting the teaching. …” Following the same reasoning, in fairness it must be asked, was there a “vote” to accept? Could a vote of “yes” or “no” really change the fact that “the Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people …”? Was the rejection of Christ by the High Priest due to a “vote”? But if the fact of a “vote” has any weight, then the witness of one of the chief participants must be noted. A. T. Jones states in the 1893 G. C. Bulletin, P. 244, “Some of these brethren, since the Minneapolis meeting, I have heard, myself, say ‘amen’ to preaching, to statements that were utterly heathen, and did not know but that it was the righteousness of Christ. Some of those who stood so openly against that at the time, and voted with uplifted hand against it, and since that time, I have heard say ‘amen’ to statements that were as openly and decidedly papal as the papal church itself can state them.” If those who stood so openly against actually “voted with uplifted hand,” as he says, it seems clear that at least an attempt was made to get a “vote.” The fact that it did not get into the Minutes does not change the principle. The life of Christ could not be saved by the fact “the common people heard him gladly” as long as “the men who composed the Sanhedrin exercised their authority in controlling men according to their will.” (TM 361.)
    2. The elected leadership was changed at the ‘88 Conference by vote of the session, … So the elected head, the responsible leaders of the movement from 1888 to 1897, definitely did not reject Righteousness by Faith.” What does this change of leadership actually prove, except perhaps there was need for a change. It certainly does not prove what it is implied to prove! Surely all that the Lord directed His messenger to write at a later date to the outgoing president and all that she wrote to the new president, hundreds of pages, over a period of years, makes it very clear that the chief officer of the church was not fulfilling his solemn duty. Notwithstanding all the noble affirmations made on behalf of the new president, the facts of history cannot be changed.

The immeasurable difference between Froom’s evaluation of the situation and that of the Lord may be seen in the following comparisons. The marked contrast of unstinted praise is taken from pages 359 to 363 while the EGW testimony is taken from a letter to A. O. Tait, Aug. 27, 1896; Special Testimonies, No. 19, Pp. 29, 30; letter to O. A. Olson, May 31, 1896; TM 359. The praise by Froom is indicated by (1); the sobering indictment of the Lord by (2).

(1) “… the record of Olson’s spiritual leadership is clear and loyal.” (2) “… he has not acted upon the light given.”

(1) “He joined wholeheartedly with Ellen White …” (2) “… he has ventured on, directly contrary to the light which the Lord has been giving him.”

(1) “Olson … helped to bind the Church together.” (2) “He is leading other minds to view matters in a perverted light.”

(1) “Olson … fostered the study of the Spirit of Prophecy.” (2) “He does not regard the testimonies.”

(1) “Olson’s tenure of office was a time of … growing acceptance of the message of Righteousness by Faith.” (2) “Unmistakably Elder O. has acted as did Aaron, in regard to these men who have been opposed to the work of God ever since the Minneapolis meeting. They have not repented of their course of action in resisting light and evidence.”

(1) “Olson … helped … to advance the Message of Minneapolis … from 1888 to 1897. (2) “Those who then refused to receive the testimony given me by God for them, and rejecting the evidence attending these testimonies, would not be benefited should I return (i.e., from Australia).”

(1) “His was a healing, unifying, and helpful influence …” (2) “The disease at the heart of the work poisons the blood. … The spiritual blindness which rests upon human minds seems to be deepening.” “The whole body is sick.”

(1) “Olson’s tenure of office was a time of awakening from Laodicean self-satisfaction and self-reliance …” (2) “At the center of the work matters are being shaped so that every other institution is following in the same course. And the General Conference is itself becoming corrupted with wrong sentiments and principles. … The people are learning that men in high positions of responsibility cannot be trusted to mold and fashion other men’s minds and characters.” (This was written in 1895.)

“We” need to understand this terrible situation with pity, sympathy, and tender sorrow. About seven years after the notable session, this condition prevailed. It was not just a man involved, or “some” but it was “we” ourselves insulting the Spirit of God.

    1. A goodly proportion of the ‘some’ rejecting the message in 1888 made confession of error within the decade following 1888. … Only pockets of resistance remained, with certain individuals persisting in the rejective attitude. But they could scarcely be classified as leaders.” (Pp. 370, 371.) Are the officers leaders? Are “responsible brethren” leaders? Is the “General Conference” a leader? Does the Lord really mean what He says through His messenger? How can reason support the contention that it was “only pockets of resistance” remaining? Can the Adventist conscience conclude that for all these eighty-odd years since 1888, the Lord has withheld His Spirit because of “only pockets” of resistance? Did Israel of old because of “pockets of resistance” go back into the wilderness after coming up to the borders of Canaan? The good report of the Caleb-and-Joshua “some” was not able to outweigh the bad report, the unbelieving report of the remaining ten “some” and when the ten repented the terrible ill effect was not cancelled out. They had to go back. Their prayer to die in the wilderness was answered. The truth is “they seemed sincerely to repent of their sinful conduct; but they sorrowed because of the result of their evil course, rather than from a sense of their ingratitude and disobedience. … Their hearts were unchanged.” (Pp. 391.)

“We may have to remain here in this world because of insubordination many more years, as did the children of Israel; but for Christ’s sake, His people should not add sin to sin by charging God with the consequence of their own wrong course of action.” (Letter 184, 1901, Ev. 696.)

    1. and v. Could a “temporary chairman of the 1888 Conference, Stephen N. Haskell” (P. 371) really change the whole tenor of the succeeding years? There is no record that he or W. C. White ever stood in the forefront of the ‘88 confrontation. It was Ellen G. White standing with A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner who had to bear the brunt of the battle.
    1. For a dozen years following 1888, E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones continued to teach the Minneapolis Message with great force and prominence.” This is true! The Lord sent the precious message through them. But what is the relationship of these two plus Ellen White to the total number? Perhaps it only verifies that they understood the message better than the others. It certainly does not alter the circumstances nor the opposition that existed any more than the faithful report of Caleb and Joshua could counteract the disbelief and evil lying report of the other ten spies. The fact that Jones and Waggoner continued to preach and even hold prominent positions could not cancel out the “insubordination.” It is a known fact that there was widespread opposition to Ellen White, who stood with them, and to the messages she was giving to the church. Her testimony was ignored and had determined opposition against it. There were things spoken against her that virtually accused her of untruths. There were apparent friends who were actually assailants weakening her counsels and making them of none effect. Yet all the while, for years, there appeared each week on the front page of the Review, an article by Ellen White. This exposure of the church to her messages could not in any way counteract the “insubordination” that prevailed nor undo the rejection of the latter rain and loud cry. Likewise the preaching of Jones and Waggoner, even though it may have been sponsored by the brethren to a certain degree, cannot prove the acceptance of the message which they preached and which the Lord gave them for His people. For some mysterious reason this, as yet, has not been recognized.
    2. “Most determinative of all, Mrs. White herself surely did not reject it, and she was Adventism personified, as it were.” (P. 371.) It is difficult to follow this line of reasoning. It is precisely because of what she has said, it is her testimony that has so vividly delineated the rebellion and rejection of the latter rain and loud cry which was offered to “us” as a people. How could the Lord who gave her the counsel possibly reject His own counsel? But Ellen White could go forward only as the church was willing to go with her. An example may help in this connection.

In days of old, surely Moses was “Israel personified.” His service, his position and his calling from the Lord made him thus. He accepted the report of the two faithful spies. He was deeply grieved at the terrible rebellion of the people as they rejected the truth and accepted the false report of the unfaithful spies. These ten men had entered upon a wrong course, stubbornly set themselves against Caleb and Joshua and against Moses — even against God! They distorted the truth in order to sustain their influence. Satan has his way. But Moses remained “Israel personified” and he in humiliation and distress of soul went before the Lord and pleaded for the people and the Lord heard and pardoned according to the word of Moses. But the damage was done! Moses with all his hopes and his whole life immersed in the welfare of Israel could not change the rebellion into obedience nor alter the verdict of the Lord, “turn you and get you into the wilderness.” (Cf. Pp. 387-393.)

    1. “Mrs. White never once declared or condoned the idea that the denomination as a whole, or that the leadership of the Movement as such, rejected Righteousness by Faith — only that ‘some’ had definitely resisted and rejected it.” (P. 372.) Never once does she declare that the message was accepted! What she has “declared” and what she has testified is more than enough to show the Lord’s attitude. Spiritual immaturity stifled the Holy Spirit. The truth of this is inherent in the fact that “we” are still talking about the Latter Rain coming at some future time whereas the Lord offered this to “us” over eighty years ago. If there was nothing more now in print for God’s people, other than Testimonies to Ministers and Christ Our Righteousness they would know that some great tragedy came to “us” in 1888. The fact is, all that the Lord has said on this matter has yet to be put together and made available. The “triumph of the Church” (which is absolutely certain) has nothing to do with what “we” as a people have written about our history.
    2. “Mrs. White spoke approvingly of the various confessions of men like Uriah Smith, G. I. Butler, and others. …” (P. 372.) This is very true! But the damage was already done, the seeds of rebellion having been sown over a period of years. By the same token the Lord accepted the repentance of Moses and Aaron at the smitten rock episode even though “they were not chargeable with willful or deliberate sin; they had been overcome by a sudden temptation, and their contrition was immediate and heartfelt.” (Pp. 419.) But notwithstanding this “immediate” repentance they could not take the children of Israel into the promised land. How does this compare with repentances that took years to come forth and even then, Olson says, “In the years following his repentance and confession, Elder Smith enjoyed a good religious experience, but he was not always quick to apprehend the truth in its fullness and to comprehend the works of Providence. He found it difficult at times to join his brethren wholeheartedly in promoting the message of righteousness by faith.” (Olson, P. 99.)
    3. “A. T. Jones was made editor-in-chief of the Review for some four years — from 1897 to 1901. …” (P. 372.) Being placed in this responsible position in 1897, about nine years after the Conference, could not possibly change the detour that had already been fixed. If this “leadership action” is relevant to the overall problem, then it must be asked in fairness why the “leadership” removed Jones in 1901 and replaced him with Uriah Smith who had been his predecessor.
    4. and xii. “Ellen White’s major books … were all written after 1888. … An increasing stream of literature, by different authors, … continued to flow from our publishing houses following 1888. …” (Pp. 372, 373.) Can the publication of all these wonderful books really have a bearing upon the heart-felt acceptance of the Latter Rain and Loud Cry in 1888? Has the publication of the E. G. White compilations over the years meant that all the counsel has been accepted? Did the publication of Counsels on Diet and Foods in 1938 cause all the “leadership” to become vegetarians forthwith? The answer is obvious! It is a mystery why such line of reasoning would be attempted and approved “by some sixty of our ablest scholars.”
    1. “It is also to be noted that no subsequent vote — that is, following 1888 — was ever taken by the Conference, or responsible committee or institute, against the truth of Righteousness by Faith.” (P. 373.) This again reveals a strange understanding of what a “vote” can or cannot do. Can a “vote” prepare God’s people for heaven? It should be obvious that a “vote” is futile to change history — indeed nothing can change history. It must be faced as “written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”
    2. “We have the recorded declarations, made in 1930, of the core of loyal men present at and participating in the 1888 Conference.” (P. 373.) It has already been pointed out that the declarations of men, their written witness, should be of sufficient value to be displayed, and set before all who have any interest in the matter to enable them to read the record. Only then can such “declarations” have validity and relevance and any hope of upholding assertions! But more than this.

Twenty-one men are listed by name. Several of these, perhaps ten or twelve are mentioned in this list who are not referred to in pages 240 to 267. It is not clear why this group is different from those who supplied affidavits, but in any event this group, if they were present at the Conference, would make about one-fourth of the delegation. (Pease I indicates there were 84 delegates (Pease I, P. 54); Olson indicates there were 85 delegates at opening time with an additional five delegates seated on October 26, which is about half way through the conference (Olson, p. 33); while Froom (P. 373) refers to a total number of delegates as about 90.) This group of twenty-one men is said to “fully offset the ‘some’ who did not at first see the truth.” By comparison “the ‘some’ who rejected turns out to be less than twenty out of more than ninety.” (P. 369.) Thus from forty to fifty were the “some” or “others” remaining noncommittal.

If this little exercise in arithmetic can be even approximately correct as based on Froom’s own figures, how can “we” possibly understand why Ellen G. White has said so much about this notable Conference and the terrible spirit of opposition and rebellion manifested there and in subsequent years? Reason demands an answer. Was it the “few” or the “some” or the “many” of the Sanhedrin that doomed the nation of Israel? History indicates there were probably seventy-one members (delegates). Can it possibly be the quantity that accepted or rejected and/or were noncommittal that has delayed the coming of Christ? Surely the Adventist conscience cannot submit to this kind of frustrating mental exercise!

But what is the unique, indeed very strange remedy that is suggested in this hour of crisis? Just forget it! “Surely the hour has now come to forget the past and its variances, to press together, and to move forward unitedly in response to God’s call to advance.” (P. 373.) Truly advance is essential. Unity is imperative for the Spirit cannot abide confusion. But how can God’s people be called upon “to forget” their past? This is to countermand the very thing “we” have been warned against — ”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.” (LS 196.) There is a principle at stake! The Remnant Church dare not pass over lightly its own relationship to the Lord and His Spirit as evidenced in the 1888 experience any more than it may presume to try and forget Calvary because it happened 2000 years ago. The mere passage of time does not cancel out an insult. At Calvary a love relationship was opened to all mankind; at Minneapolis God desired His bride to enter into the consummation of this divine-human relationship. The acceptance or rejection of a “doctrine” could never fulfill the potential God had in mind but which to date has eluded “us.”

History does not support what “we” say “we see” nor can history ever be supported by mere assertions. If Froom worked from “hundreds of priceless source documents” it is only right, proper and reasonable that at least “some” of these be put on display and quoted from rather fully. This has not been the case. This is a mystery. Yet we say “we see,” and have been in “a time of awakening from Laodicean self-satisfaction and self-reliance,” which began in 1888. What a startling fulfillment of prophecy! We are “blind” and know it not, all the time saying, “We see; therefore” our “sin remaineth.”

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