The Mystery of 1888 — Chapter 6

MEN SAY THAT “WE SEE”

The weight of evidence against Froom rests not only with Daniells, but the prime original source of evidence and testimony is that of Ellen G. White, yet he does not stand alone. In particular there are five other denominational writers who have published ideas about 1888. Reference has been made to these but further study needs to be given to them.

SEVERAL WRITERS ASSERT “WE SEE”

The historical fact of the 1888 Conference and the subsequent 1893 session and the repeated references to this era made by EGW over more than a decade, finally passed into the archives, as it were. It was not until 1926, thirty-eight years after the great session, that new impetus was given to its study when Daniells published his book, Christ Our Righteousness. The stand which Daniells took is very clear, as has been pointed out.

In the meantime, from that date to this, several different authors have published rather specific views about 1888. Six of them have come to varying conclusions in direct opposition to Daniells who pointed out clearly the attitude of the Spirit of Prophecy toward the Minneapolis episode. It would seem that these authors either were unaware of what has been said or ignored the many specific statements and judgments that have been made by the Lord’s messenger. As set out in chapter two of this study, the authors who stand in opposition to Daniells are Pease in all three of his works, Christian, Spalding, Branson, Olson and Froom. The last one of these has already been considered in part. It remains to review briefly the works of the other authors.

PEASE

It was in the year 1945, that further momentum was given to study of this era of Adventist history when Pease prepared his unpublished M.A. thesis, “Justification and Righteousness by Faith in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church Before 1900.” This was 57 years after the session. There is a decided difference in his study from that presented by Daniells, notwithstanding Pease recognizes that by 1900 Mrs. White, Waggoner and Jones still remained the impetus of the movement, and “the doctrine” had not taken its place as a major tenet of the denomination. (Pease 1, P. 88.)

This thesis written in 1945, is virtually a word for word preliminary copy of his book, By Faith Alone, subsequently published in 1962. It is clear from the foreword in the book (P. vii) that it was considered needful to have it published due to the questions and comments coming from the field at the time. The Foreword, written by the General Conference President at that time, states: “This book sets the record straight.” The fact that subsequent volumes regarding 1888 have been published would indicate that there was further need to try and cancel out persistent problems and anomalies not yet solved. This is evident as Pease I, Pease II, and Pease III is studied.

Pease does not set the record straight, and it is evident there are serious problems in the presentations he makes of what “we see.” Here are some reasons for these difficulties.

  1. He almost completely fails to recognize the 1888 message for what it was in truth — the intended beginning of the latter rain and loud cry, a message sent of God to prepare a people for translation.
  2. An allusion is made to this on P. 156 (Pease II) in quoting EGW, Review, November 22, 1892: “For the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth.” But the significance of this is not grasped. In a similar way, reference is made to Jones at the 1893 session but then aspersions are cast upon him and his dialogue with the congregation is disparaged regarding what the brethren rejected at Minneapolis. His utterances are referred to as “vehement, almost vitriolic.
  3. Scores of times Pease refers to the 1888 message as the “doctrine of justification by faith,” or “the doctrine of righteousness by faith,” and proceeds to equate it with the historical doctrine as taught by the apostle Paul, and Luther, Wesley, and others, and emphasizes strongly the idea that Jones and Waggoner got the doctrine from the popular Protestant churches of their day. (Pp. 138, 139.) This implies that it was indeed unknown among “us” in pre-1888 times, but Sister White says she had been trying to present it to our people for 45 years previously. Again, if the Protestant churches had had its essence in their midst all the time, how could the message be the beginning of the latter rain, and above all, how could it be the “third angel’s message in verity?” It would be very difficult for the Adventist conscience to accept that the 1888 message really came from Babylon and that Babylon understand the truth of justification and righteousness by faith in a way to enhance the Remnant church.
  4. As the denomination gets older, a near phenomenon becomes evident; for the first time in history here is a church that is getting better and better all the time, yet is warned against an “unscriptural perfectionism.” (Cf. Pease II, Pp. 227, 239, 240.) But perhaps all is well, or nearly so, “we” have the Bible, Sister White’s writings, and at some future time His second coming will bring the consummation of the gospel. There was a mixed reaction to the 1888 message; there was “obvious spiritual growth and improved insight, but it was not as general as it should have been. The efforts for revival were neither a failure nor a complete success.” (Cf. Pease III, P. 45.) This is perhaps a very graphic portrayal of what the True Witness saw: “Thou art neither cold nor hot … thou art lukewarm … and knowest not that thou art wretched and … blind.”
  5. As the published works on 1888 are studied, other problems and conflicts of viewpoints become evident. But the hour is very late and the conflicts among men is not the chief problem. At the same time the zeal of each author to protect the church — or the traditions of the elders — is very evident and from a human standpoint praiseworthy. The Lord also truly protects, guards, and loves His bride, perhaps in a way “we” have not fully appreciated as yet. Albeit, He will countenance “no guile” (Revelation 14:5) irrespective of how much His beloved may require to be humbled. If He could only get her to look back — and repent.

CHRISTIAN

The Fruitage of Spiritual Gifts, by L. H. Christian, published in 1947, sets forth a grand view and witness of the place the Spirit of Prophecy has held in the church. He declares, “Prophetic guidance is still a part of our divine heritage, and the future of the remnant church will largely depend on how our gospel workers study and follow the light of God in the days to come.” (Pp. 7, 8.) In this work of 446 pages, there is one chapter of twenty-six pages relevant to this study; it is, “The Minneapolis Conference and the Great Revival.” The conclusions of this chapter do not agree with Daniells and the chapter contains contradictions. Here are some highlights.

  1. “At no other gathering in our entire history has the Lord in so marked a manner brought light and victory to His people through Bible study and the Spirit of Prophecy.” (P. 219.) In great contrast to this view of “our” history, a statement from the Lord’s messenger is presented in the same chapter: “I have been instructed that the terrible experience at the Minneapolis Conference is one of the saddest chapters in the history of the believers in present truth.” (P. 230, Letter 179, 1902.) The difference in these two concepts is vast, but the Adventist conscience must accept the Lord’s word which has the specific impressive preamble — ”I have been instructed.”
  2. “Though the Minneapolis Conference was a stormy meeting, the fruitage was most encouraging. As already stated, it marked the beginning of a new era of spiritual awakening and growth.” (P. 237.) In deep concern “we” now living in the 1970’s, must inquire, “What has happened to the ‘new era of spiritual awakening’?”
  3. “Some may well ask, What was this teaching of righteousness by faith which became the mainspring of the great Adventist revival, as taught and emphasized by Mrs. White and others? It was the same doctrine that Luther, Wesley, and many other servants of God had been teaching. This is easily seen as one reads the articles by Mrs. White in our papers for many years, and also her large books.” (P. 239.) Can any SDA truly believe the 1888 message was merely a re-emphasis of Luther, Wesley, and such others? Did Mrs. White really get her message from them? Is this what her books contain?
  4. “Thus the after effect of the great Minneapolis revival was the beginning of another era for the advent movement. This blessed period of revival, beginning in 1888, which was so rich in both holiness and mission fruitage, came, above all, as a direct result of the work of the messenger of the Lord through the Spirit of God.” (P. 245.) Was the message truly accepted? Was a victory gained and a new era begun? How can it be? After another twenty-seven years since the book was published can any Adventist say, “Amen,” to this thesis? But more than this. Current study and research of the 1888 Conference now proposes that it was precisely because the work of the messenger of the Lord and the authority of the Spirit of Prophecy was rejected that the session became such a tragic episode then and in the years that followed. Obviously one of these concepts is completely wrong!
  5. No mention is made of the latter rain and its relation to the session.

SPALDING

In the history book, Captains of the Host, published in 1949, A. W. Spalding uses only one chapter of the 704 pages to consider 1888. The author is said by Froom to be “a most trenchant and dependable historian of our early days and the experience of 1888.” (P. 605.) Spalding’s view of what “we see” must be considered next. It is not quite clear why he should be accorded the place of a “historian” when it comes to 1888. He was born that year and actually has written but very few pages on this experience of the church. What he has written needs to be considered briefly.

  1. He places the session in an atmosphere of “rancors aroused by personalities, much more than the differences of beliefs, which caused the difficulty.” (P. 599.) This is a unique appraisal. Could “the conflict” which “involved personalities quite as much as preaching,” (P. 592) be sufficient cause for God to stand back for further decades awaiting His people to forget all this and at some future time fulfill their “destiny”?
  2. Could the some half-dozen men listed by name as opponents on the two sides be the cause of the seventh church journeying on for 85 years and more?
  3. Can it be true that Jones and Waggoner were equally at fault with those who opposed them, as affirmed: “Never before in the history of this people had there been an issue so grave, in which not one party alone, but both parties, were at fault.” (P. 593.) If this is a fact, where does it leave the Lord’s messenger who so decidedly took her stand with one side? How would she dare to keep a personality clash alive and vivid and continuing for about seven years by proclaiming so emphatically in 1895: “The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones”?
  4. The decorum of at least one of the main proponents is set forth clearly by Ellen White. She refers to “a right spirit, a Christlike spirit, manifested, such as Elder E. J. Waggoner had shown all through the presentations of his views. ... As Elder E. J. Waggoner had conducted himself like a Christian gentleman, they should do the same. … Elder Waggoner had taken a straightforward course, not involving personalities, to thrust any one or to ridicule any one. He conducted the subject as a Christian gentleman should in a kind and courteous manner. This was acknowledged to be the case by those who were holding opposite views.” (MS-24, 1888.)

In great contrast she continues to delineate the attitude of one of the opposition: “If only Elder _____ had done the same.” (Ibid.)

Thereafter the Lord’s messenger proceeds to speak without repress regarding the terrible spirit of opposition and in due course, specifically refers to A. T. Jones as well as E. J. Waggoner, together, as having received treatment less than their due. As this is studied it will be seen where and upon whom the preponderance of fault lay — unfortunately upon “the ministers,” “my brethren,” “my ministering brethren,” men in high positions.” Is it possible for anyone to read such heaven-inspired indictments and continue to think the crisis was a conflict of personalities? The controversy was between light and darkness; truth and error; Christ and Satan — and “we” were involved, this is “our” record!

  1. There is a complete lack of any recognition that the 1888 message was the beginning of the latter rain and loud cry. It is difficult to see how this historian missed such vital information as portrayed in the original sources.

BRANSON

The 1952 Bible Conference, held in the Sligo Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Takoma Park, Maryland, was a world-wide gathering of workers from various departments of the church. The papers presented at the Conference resulted in 1503 pages of printed material produced in two volumes. Volume II has some material dealing specifically with 1888. It is very briefly reviewed here, not because it adds new insight to the ’88 era, but rather because it should make “us” comprehend after these further twenty-odd years exactly how confused the situation is in “our” midst and measure carefully what “we see.”

The Introduction of Volume II contains these words: “Although the studies were prepared independently and without collaboration on the part of the speakers, there nevertheless runs through them a thread of truth which binds them together with a remarkable degree of unity and purpose. That thread is righteousness by faith, which is ‘the third angel’s message in verity’ and this doctrine is to become the message of the loud cry, which results from the outpouring of the latter rain.” It will be noted that the “loud cry” and the “latter rain” were still in 1952 anticipated at a future date.

The following lengthy quotation must be read and analyzed in the light of the 1888 session and in relation to what has transpired since 1952.

To a large degree the church failed to build on the foundation laid at the 1888 General Conference. Much has been lost as a result. We are years behind where we should have been in spiritual growth. Long ere this we should have been in the Promised Land.

But the message of righteousness by faith given in the 1888 Conference has been repeated here. Practically every speaker from the first day onward has laid great stress upon this all-important doctrine, and there was no prearranged plan that he should do so. It was spontaneous on the part of the speakers. No doubt they were impelled by the Spirit of God to do so. Truly this one subject has, in this conference ‘swallowed up every other.’

And this great truth has been given here in this 1952 Bible Conference with far greater power than it was given in the 1888 Conference because those who have spoken here have had the advantage of much added light shining forth from hundreds of pronouncements on this subject in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy which those who spoke back there did not have.

The light of justification and righteousness by faith shines upon us today more clearly than it ever shone before upon any people.

No longer will the question be, ‘What was the attitude of our workers and people toward the message of righteousness by faith that was given in 1888? What did they do about it?’ From now on the great question must be, ‘What did we do with the light on righteousness by faith as proclaimed in the 1952 Bible Conference?’

Brethren, what shall be our response?

The reception of the righteousness of Christ by faith will bring the Holy Ghost down from heaven. This will result in the very foundations of the world being shaken by the preaching of the Advent message.

We are engaged in an effort to double our church membership in a four-year period from January 1, 1950, to December 31, 1953. Some have reckoned such a goal to be preposterous. But is it? When the first Pentecost came, the church doubled its numbers in one day.

The reception of the righteousness of Christ by the church today will bring the second Pentecost. Revelation 18:1-3 will be fulfilled. Thousands will be converted in a day as the message of salvation through Christ swells to a loud and mighty cry. With such power in the message, who shall say that a four-year period is too short a time in which to double the number of those who are brought into the church of God?

This question of receiving the righteousness of Christ in its fullness is therefore the most important consideration before each one of us.

Who, then, are there among us who will without further delay reach out the hand of faith and grasp this mighty gift? It is ours for the asking and taking if we only believe.

When this takes place the very skies will pour down righteousness and the earth will open up and cause righteousness and salvation to spring up together. (Pp. 616 - 618.)

Is it possible at this date that “we” really believe what is set forth in this passage? Was the message of 1888 truly “repeated” in 1952? And was it given “with far greater power than it was given in the 1888 Conference”? Is not the terrible confusion of all this very apparent? But to add to the discord and variance, Branson is countermanded by Froom with the following pronouncement: “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.” (Froom, P. 187.) This is “our” history! The utter futility and confusion of all this should humble “our” hearts!

A side-light must be noted at this point for it was in the early 1950’s that a supreme effort was put forth to vindicate the idea of the latter rain falling at that time. In Africa candidates for baptism were accumulated over a period of time and then on certain given Sabbaths great mass baptisms were performed so that the total for the day was over 2,000 for the Division. Thereafter it was self-evident that the latter rain was falling, or so it was proclaimed, “Pentecost Being Repeated in Africa.”

Will “we” face our situation and “our” history exactly as they stand or will some future generation “research” all that is now transpiring? One thing is as clear as it could possibly be — ”We” have not remotely fulfilled the grand proclamations made at that meeting nor has the church yet seen “far greater power” in its midst due to the 1952 conference! The root of 1888 goes deep.

OLSON

By the year 1966, problems in the field in connection with 1888 had increased to a perplexing state. There was a sort of credibility-gap that would not go away. As various viewpoints got into print, so the confusion increased. By this time the regular published works dealing with this era numbered four, besides the unpublished thesis and, of course, Daniell’s work. Chronologically these would be listed as follows: Daniells, 1926; Pease I, 1945; Christian, 1947; Spalding, 1949; Branson, 1953; Pease II, 1962; leaving Olson to come in 1966 and Froom yet to appear in 1971. Besides these regular denominationally sponsored publications, there had appeared three other studies which undoubtedly had much to do with precipitating the publication of at least three of the above books. The three studies were: “1888 Re-examined,” prepared in 1950; “Further Appraisal of the Manuscript ‘1888 Re-examined,’” released in September 1958; and “An Answer to ‘Further Appraisal of the Manuscript ‘1888 Re-examined’,” prepared in October, 1958.

At this point A. V. Olson’s book, Through Crisis to Victory, must be considered.

  1. The very title of the book presents a great mystery. That there was a “crisis” is abundantly clear, but what was the “victory”? How dare “we” call 1901 a “victory” when the Lord’s servant called it the greatest sorrow of her life? What sort of eyesight do “we” have; is this really what “we see”? How can a defeat possibly be called a victory? Is not the situation here all too much like that of old when they could not distinguish between the voice of the true Shepherd and the voice of a stranger? Here is one message to hear, given during this era:

God stands ready to bestow rich blessings upon men; but few will bend from their selfishness to receive the gracious gift. From age to age there is acted over the same rejection of light that grieved the heart of Christ when He was on earth. There is seen the same refusal to hear the voice of God through His appointed agencies, because the message borne does not sanction human theories. Christ is as really rejected today by the rejection of His messages of warning and reproof as when He stood in this world a man among men. (Review, April 2, 1901.)

  1. On what basis can “we” presume to say the period between 1888 and 1901 “were in some ways the most progressive years of the Advent Movement up until that time”? It was but a few months later, February 18, 1902, that the terrible sanitarium fire came. The shock of this was scarcely over, when ten months later the publishing house was burned. The Lord has told us these losses did not just happen. Is this the fruit of “progressive years”? “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14.)
  2. In an effort to be specific as to how many comprised the opposition at the ‘88 session, Olson “by searching through letter files, manuscript files, and periodical files … discovered that at least twenty-three workers were involved in it in one way or another.” (P. 84.) If “at least” this many were involved in sheer numbers known by name, without any reference to the tremendous spiritual overtones, it means that the situation was very similar to that described in the Scriptures: — ”There was war in heaven” and the war was of such magnitude that when that old serpent fought against Michael, “his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth.” What mortal man would dare to minimize the war in heaven because only about one-third fought against Michael? Yet history confirms that “at least” more than one-fourth of the delegates known and listed by name, not to count the unnamed group, were on the wrong side of the issue, warring against the light God sent.

It must be noted here that Froom (P. 367) while giving Olson high marks for “the most complete investigation into the number and scope of subsequent confessions,” changes the figures Olson uses and says there were “less than a score … who actually fought the message of Righteousness by Faith, though these were disproportionately vocal.” It seems relevant and reasonable to point out that Froom has undercut his whole thesis about “leaders” not rejecting for it is leaders, men in responsible positions, who usually have the ability to express themselves, to be “vocal” as they deem circumstances require. Froom further points out that Olson’s “painstaking search, pursued with his characteristic thoroughness … was made during his chairmanship of the Trustees of the Ellen G. White Estate, with access to the files.” It can be but wondered how so much that is in the files was either overlooked, ignored or completely misunderstood. In mercy the Lord says, “thou knowest not that thou art blind.”

  1. The idea is presented and urged that the message of righteousness by faith was not “officially rejected” and that “no action whatever was taken by vote of the delegates to accept it or to reject it. Its acceptance or rejection by the people present at the session was an individual matter.” (P. 36.) Froom promotes the same “no vote” idea. (Pp. 233, 370.) This is to miss entirely the practical results of what happened and this is clearly seen as the record is examined. It is only required to read the words of those who were there. The speakers, the delegates, and congregation — they understood. To seal the matter the counsel of the Lord is also recorded with explicit reference to Minneapolis! Read the General Conference Bulletin of 1893. There was not the least doubt about “rejecting the loud cry.” The understanding was clear enough and positive enough that five years after 1888, the session of 1893 as a body publicly acknowledged — ”Then what did the brethren in that fearful position in which they stood, reject at Minneapolis? They rejected the latter rain — the loud cry of the third angel’s message. (P. 183.) On this one page of the Bulletin, seven times there is specific reference to “reject,” “rejected,” “rejecting,” “set aside,” or not receiving. The evidence is overwhelming, yet “we” presume to rationalize and set aside this solemn positive recorded history to suit “our” terrible desire for self-vindication which in the final analysis is to charge God for His delay in returning!
  2. The very serious problems in the church following 1888, stated bluntly, unrighteousness and rebellion, and continuing through the era covered by the book are to be ignored as having nothing to do with righteousness by faith and still do unrighteousness? Is justification by faith a ritual that has no practical value, no relevance to translation? The Lord says: “Truth is not truth to those who do not practice it. Truth is only truth to you when you live it in the daily life, showing the world what those people must be who are at last saved. (G. C. Bulletin, April 3, 1901, quoted by Olson, P. 184.)
  3. The idea of a denominational repentance is spurned and a quotation less than one-fourth of a sentence is given in support of this. (P. 83.) It is the same piece of a sentence used by Froom, (P. 368) taken out of context to protect “us.” See Confession, Pp. 43, 44, for a consideration of this.
  4. The reader is led to believe that the problem of 1888 was unique to that session by these words: “As we now examine the historical record and look at the General Conference sessions, we see that except for the meeting of 1888, righteousness by faith was not an issue in the great gatherings of the church. The doctrine was understood to be part of the third angel’s message.” (P. 228.)

Pease I says quite a different thing: “It can hardly be said, however, that the doctrine of justification by faith had taken its place as a major tenet of the denomination. In order for the doctrine to have achieved this status, it would have to have become part of the teaching of practically all accredited spokesmen of the denomination. Such was not the case.” (Pease I, P. 88.)

There is a further viewpoint expressed by Froom, a kind of theological evolution based on a long period of time, (P. 535, also P. 316): “The crisis hour for the Advent Movement passed. Time would vindicate the Biblical truth presented. Time would overcome stubborn opposition. And time would ultimately heal the wounds and rifts. But it would take time, much time.”

Bringing these vastly different concepts carefully into focus, the following emerges:

(a) Olson says righteousness by faith was an issue only at the meeting of 1888, the doctrine was understood to be part of the third angel’s message.

(b) Pease says the doctrine had not taken its place as a major tenet of the denomination at or following 1888 though from 1890 to 1900 many accepted the doctrine. (Cf. Pease II, P. 164.)

(c) Froom says though it might take years before the light would triumph — it would eventually, time would overcome stubborn opposition, but it would take time, much time.

There is evidenced here tragic confusion of thought. The word of the Lord’s messenger about this era stands consistent and clear without contradiction.

  1. By evading the recognition that the 1888 message was the beginning of the latter rain and was rejected, a painful conclusion is forced: The leadership and ministry are good; the laity are bad. This is brought to view in the close of the book (P. 239): “They have neglected … they have failed … their poor souls are naked and destitute … they will soon be rejected by their Lord.”

This same conclusion is brought to bear on the laity by Froom: “God has had to wait for His people to respond. We have repeated Israel’s experience.” (P. 317.) “The Holy Spirit — ready, willing and able — could not do His allotted work because of the unpreparedness of the membership.” (P. 582.) “The groundwork has all been laid and the stage all set for the last final surge forward and upward. What now remains is entrance of His people into the full provision of God for the finishing of the Great Commission under the enabling provisions and the power of the Holy Spirit in the Latter Rain and Loud Cry.” (Pp. 612, 613.) When “we” in contrition cease to proclaim “we see,” “we” will no longer need a scapegoat!

Equally serious is the end product of this philosophy which dare not remain unchallenged. In time this deception would destroy the church as Ellen White and the pioneers conceived it to be and understood its destiny. The false philosophy is this: There can be a church leadership which is right with God and a laity that is unresponsive. Where in the Bible is such a teaching formulated? This concept is the essence of the Roman Catholic teaching of a hierarchy — you cannot trust the church, that is, the laity, they cannot be given the cup.

1888 contains infinitely more than a “doctrine,” an eternal principle is at stake.

FROOM

Considerable reference has already been made to Movement of Destiny, by LeRoy Edwin Froom. Chronologically there is need to refer to this work again as it is the latest official publication on the 1888 era. A very brief review needs to be given, plus a few other points not considered heretofore.

  1. An endeavor is made in Chapter twenty-three, (Pp. 375 - 391) to point out that by the year 1920, a resurgence of and a renewed study of righteousness by faith was under way. Critical problems and pressures in previous years had crowded the great theme into the background. “It failed to be stressed as it had been in the 1890’s. And for several years it was largely quiescent. Major problems, together with demanding activities, had had first place. Now an auspicious change began to take place.” (P. 375.) This presents a deep mystery.

If the message of 1888 as widely affirmed, produced a great revival in the 1890’s and if this is the third angel’s message in verity, it must be asked: (a) What happened to the revival? (b) How could the very reason for the existence of SDA’s become quiescent? (c) How could other activities demand first place? (d) How could there have been a failure to stress this message from 1900 to 1910 if it was truly accepted in 1888 as claimed? (e) What line of reasoning could produce the idea that “Righteousness by Faith was again slowly but steadily on the rise”?
(P. 378, emphasis added.) (f) Did the publication in 1920 of a book by Prescott trigger “a reverberation of the old issue at Minneapolis, where he had been a participant”? (P. 380.) (g) Notwithstanding the reverberations, it is a fact? — ”Prescott’s book thus helped pave the way for the complete revival and full acceptance of the truth enunciated at Minneapolis in 1888, which is destined to come into its consummating phase under the Loud Cry and Latter Rain. … It was the message of 1888 restated in textbook form.” (P. 391, emphasis added.) (h) Subsequently in 1923, ‘24, and ‘25 it is said that through the institutes and men combined it could be stated: “A revival of true godliness was now under way, with emphasis upon the underlying principles and provisions of Righteousness by Faith in Christ. …” (P. 395.)

Truly is this what “we see” in the SDA church today? The anomalies are wearisome and baffling!

  1. With all that has gone before and all that has been published, it seems that Froom endeavors to present a solution and bring all matters into focus, thus: In 1888 the real issue was the Deity of Christ, Arianism was a problem. “We” have now overcome “our” Arianism by the developments of the last few decades and errors have been removed right up to the 1940’s. (P. 428.) Declarations have been made. Questions on Doctrine has been published. Time was extended because of unpreparedness but we can now “have the spotlight of the pitiless scrutiny of the religious world turned full upon us” which we were not prepared to have “for decades following ‘88.” (P. 316.) The movement has been aroused since 1888 ”from the complacency of Laodiceanism.” (P. 267.) The doctrinal problems have been solved. “We” now await the climax under the provision of the latter rain and loud cry.

There is no need for denominational repentance. All is quite well, except perhaps “we” need a fresh approach, a new appeal, a more effective strategy, a more winsome plan of action, a more efficient method that meets the demands of the hour. (P. 666.) But if the “harpers” on the note that the leaders actually rejected the message of 1888 would make an explicit confession due the church, the way would be cleared. Those who call for corporate and denominational repentance would be humiliated; then the Lord could pour out His Spirit.

Surely this concept is in sharp contrast to the understanding held by an increasing number of staunch, loyal, life-long Adventists, workers and ministers. That there is a study and research program into “our” history now in progress is one of the most encouraging things to happen in the church in the last twenty-five years. The results of this could be the most humiliating experience the church has ever faced. Suppose the “official” view of 1888 that has been taken over the years cannot be supported historically nor spiritually from a “thus saith the Lord” as given to “us” through the explicit counsel of the Lord’s messenger, Ellen G. White — what then? Facts all point to this pending conclusion! One thing is certain — only truth will stand in the judgment.


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