The Final Word and a Confession
A.T. Jones, 1906
The brethren of the General Conference Committee have issued a 96-page "Statement" in which they aim to refute some of the statements that I made in my leaflet of March 4, 1906. By some means they have been led into such mistakes as ought not to be left uncorrected; and have asked direct questions that call for an answer. Therefore I write this final word, and a confession that I owe.
Please do not confuse the issue. Please do not allow any one to confuse the issue for you or to you. Therefore I shall call attention first of all to the title of the "Statement" sent out by the General Conference Committee. It is claimed to be, first of all --
"A Statement Refuting Charges Made by A. T. Jones against the Spirit of Prophecy."
But the truth is that nowhere in the world can there be found any charge by A. T. Jones against the Spirit of Prophecy. And for anybody to make anything that I have ever anywhere said, a charge against the Spirit of prophecy, is simply and wholly to pervert what I have said; and is also wholly to misplace the Spirit of prophecy.
Nor have I attacked the Testimonies. In all that I have said, and in the position which I have been compelled to take, there has not been any purpose, nor any thought, to set aside, to sweep away or in any sense to destroy the Testimonies or the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. Nor does what I have written do any such thing. Some may insist that it does: but with me I know that it does not. To yield some particular ground concerning the Testimonies, is not by any means to yield the whole ground of the Testimonies. In other words, with me to yield that some things sent out as Testimony should be found not to be Testimony -- this does not sweep away everything that purports to be Testimony, nor does it take away all basis of the Testimonies; and any one who presents in that view what I have said, simply misrepresents what I have said, and what I mean.
There may be those, indeed I fear there are, who do go so far as to say, "If I didn't believe that every word of every communication issued by Sister White was Testimony, I would give up the whole thing -- Third Angel's Message, Bible and all." Plainly such a statement as that never can be right; for that puts the writings of Sister White above the Third Angel's Message, and above the Bible; and makes the Third Angel's Message, and even the integrity of the Bible, to depend upon the Testimonies. But this is contrary to the Testimonies themselves as well as contrary to the essential truth itself.
I have already presented from Testimony 33 and from the address in the College Library, April 1, 101, that the Testimonies are "to bring the mind of the people to His word" that "the written Testimonies are not to give new light"; "additional truth is not brought out," but "God gives plain and pointed Testimonies to bring them back to the Word that they have neglected to follow." "Don't you ever quote my words again as long as you live until you can obey the Bible. When you take the Bible, and make that your food, and your meat, and your drink and make that the elements of your character -- when you can do that you will know better how to receive some counsel from God."
Thus, by the words of the Testimonies themselves, it is certain that instead of the integrity of the Bible depending upon the Testimonies, the integrity of the Testimonies depends upon the Bible. And this is certainly the truth. The Bible is the supreme thing. The Bible is the Word of God above all other things. And every other thing, every other writing, is, and in the nature of things must be second to the Bible, and, not by any means, first.
But the Third Angel's Message is in the Bible. It is essentially of the Bible. Mark, I do not say that the Third Angel's Message is a part of the Bible; but that it is of the Bible itself. That is to say, the Third Angel's Message, in its wonderful sweep, comprehends the whole Bible itself. And until the Third Angel's Message is held in this view, it is not fully discerned and is therefore not truly held. The Testimonies, therefore, are not above the Third Angel's Message. The Third Angel's Message does not depend upon the Testimonies. The Testimonies belong with the Third Angel's Message; but they are not it, nor are they above it.
When we shall study the writings of the Spirit of prophecy to find the Third Angel's Message as it is in the Bible, there will not be any ground for anybody to make any such statement as that "If I did not believe that every word of Sister White's writings is from God, I would give up the whole thing." When the writings of the Spirit of prophecy are given to bring us to the Bible and then we study these writings to know only what is in them, and not by them to know what is in the Bible, we frustrate the purpose of those writings, and do, in effect, make of these a second Bible and thus do certainly make of them an addition to the Bible. And when we thus use them, instead of using the Bible, we do put them in the place of the Bible. And there is no question at all but that many people have done and are doing just this thing.
But when we use these writings for the simple purpose for which they
are given; that is, to gain a better understanding of the Bible, and to find in the
Bible the things which these writings point out, then these writings will be readily
received and used for what they are intended -- to know more of the Bible.
And then, again, there will not be any ground for any one's saying that "If I did not
believe that every word of Sister White's writings was the word of God, I would give up
the whole thing"; neither will there be any fear of the Testimonies failing, even
though it should be found that a mistake had occurred.
She said, "I am not a prophet"
Now, I take up briefly the main things in this pamphlet that are written to be a refutation of what I said. And since my statement that Sister White said, "I am not a prophet," is made the one chief thing, I will refer to that first. In the General Conference pamphlet, page 84, it is said of me: "He did not hear those words spoken by Sister White in Battle Creek."
Here, again, do not allow the issue to be confused. Bear in mind that I did not say that she is not a prophet. I simply said that she said, "I am not a prophet"; and that I heard her say it. In their answer to this, their only proper task is to prove that she did not say it. And what is their proof? The following: --
This, according to their own record, was spoken Sabbath, October 1, 1904: and is taken from the report of her amanuensis of that day. And upon this record they insist that I did not hear her say, "I am not a prophet"; and also insist that she did not say, "I am not a prophet."
But Sister White spoke publicly more than once on that visit to Battle Creek. They have the words that she spoke only that one time. And that she did not at that time use the words that I quoted, does that prove that she did not use these words at any other time on that visit? And, if at any other time, the next day for instance, she did speak the very words that I have said that I heard her speak, then what becomes of all the many words and labored argument that are used to build up their refutation of my statement? It would all be simply in the air, and destitute of all relevancy.
Now, the fact is that Sister White spoke in the tabernacle October 2, 1904, as well as October 1, 1904. It is also a fact that a professional stenographer and reporter of many years' experience, and then and now in constant practice, took down word for word what she said on both occasions. It is likewise a fact that in her address on Sunday, October 2, referring directly to what she had said on this point, October 1, she used the words that I quoted, "I am not a prophet."
Transcribed from that stenographic report, word for word, what she said October 1, is as follows: --
And on Sunday afternoon, October 2, this verbatim stenographic report shows that she said, word for word, the following: --
Did she not then in Battle Creek, say the words, "I am not a prophet"? The verbatim report of her sermon on October 2, 1904, demonstrates that she did speak those words that day. And I heard her speak them. Then when the "General Conference Committee," in this pamphlet, say of me, "He did not hear those words spoken by Sister White in Battle Creek," they simply miss their mark and talk into the air; that is all.
That is as far as the logic of the issue requires that I should go; as it fully confirms my original statement and vindicates what I said. But, since the "Statement" goes a good deal further than this, and offers much explanation I will also go a little further; not to offer any explanation, but only to set down connectedly what she said; so that all may have for themselves what is said, and may for themselves choose between what she said, and men's explanation of what she said, or what she meant.
There are the words in her address of October 2, 1904, "I am not a prophet." The very words that I said that she said. I knew that she said those words; and I know that she said those words more than once publicly. Why must I be condemned for accepting just what she said, and believing the words as she said them? Why must I be compelled to take somebody else's long and labored explanation of words that are as plain as words can be?
And, please note right here, that these words of October 2, 1904, were spoken with direct reference to the word that she had already spoken on October 1, the day before: "I am not, as I said yesterday, a prophet." This statement of October 2, is explicitly an explanation of what she said on October 1. therefore, when she said on October 1, "They say she is a prophetess"; "I claim to be no such thing;" and then the very next day, with direct reference to this very statement says, "I am not, as I said yesterday, a prophet" -- then, if words are worth anything at all, this demonstrates that what she said on October 1 was in effect and intent the same thing as that she said on October 2.
Indeed, are not the words of October 1 just as plain, and just as forcible, and just as sweeping, as are the words of October 2 -- provided the words themselves be taken as they are, without any sophistry? Look at them. "They say she is a prophetess. They say she is this, that and the other thing. I claim to be no such thing." Notice that the words stand in the positive and not in the negative form. It is not merely that I do not claim to be a prophetess, I do not claim any such title -- not thus in a merely negative form; but the words stand plainly in the positive form. "I claim to be no such thing."
By the very nature of the words of our language, by the native form and structure of the language, that statement of October 1, is just as plain a denial of the title of a prophet or any such thing as is the statement of October 2. And when the statement of October 2 makes positive and direct reference to the statement of October 1, and says, "I am not, as I said yesterday, a prophet," this is as conclusive as words can express it, that her statement of October 1 was intended to say just what the words do say.
And this is further confirmed by the fact that both these statements in October, 1904, are in exact accord with her own written words, over her own signature, in November, 1903, as follows:
These latter words are found in a communication dated St. Helena, California, November 17, 1903, copied November 27, 1903, and signed by herself. The words and connection in full are as follows:
This last statement is absolutely exclusive of "any other position than that of a messenger with a message." What right have I then to "make her appear before the people as holding any other position" than that? Others may do it if they want to; I do not object to their doing it. So far as I am concerned, they are at perfect liberty to do just as they please in this; but why must I be ostracized and made a heretic and an outcast, because I choose to accept her plain words just as they stand? When that is the attitude that she must occupy, and yet she is accepted and respected as a worker in the cause, why cannot I occupy the same position respecting her, without being made an outcast and despised of all the people?
Nor does her use of this title of "messenger" conform at all to the use that is made of it in the General Conference pamphlet. This pamphlet cites, as illustration, John the Baptist as a "messenger" and "more than a prophet." This is well enough in his case because the Bible says so. But Sister White's own words on this subject make it manifest that her use of the title "messenger" hold it as less than a prophet. Look at her words of October 1, 1904:
And, again, October 2, 1904:
I am not, as I said, yesterday, a prophet. I do not claim to be a leader; I claim to be simply a messenger of God.
These words twice spoken, "simply a messenger," "simply a messenger," in contrast with the word "prophet" or "prophetess," make it as plain as the words can express it, that the title of messenger, which she holds, she regards as less than would be the title of prophet. Take another look at the words:
And what they have presented in the pamphlet to show what she meant in the words October 1, 1904, is in harmony with these statements themselves. It is all disclaimer, and to the effect that she deliberately makes no such claim. In no instance does she say or allow that she is a prophet. The nearest that any words are found to come to it is in the words that she has "no controversy" with those who say that she is. But that is a good deal further from her saying that she is a prophet, than are the other statements from her saying that she is "not a prophet."
And now I ask, When she does not say that she is a prophet, and yet she has "no controversy" with those who say that she is, why should there be all this controversy with me, simply because when she did say, "I am not a prophet," I said that I heard her say it, and that I believed it?
General Conference at Healdsburg
The foregoing situation is repeated with reference to my statement concerning the communication that came to me regarding the holding of General Conference in 1903 in Healdsburg. I said that that communication said that if the Healdsburg brethren would entertain the delegates, Healdsburg would be the better place to hold the Conference and that this would be according to the light to get out of the cities to the quiet of the country. But in the pamphlet there is presented first an argument to prove that that communication does not say what I said that it said; and then the communication itself is printed as evidence that this argument is true; when in very substance the communication itself, as printed in this pamphlet, says what I said that it said; and says it even stronger than I said it said it. Look at the words in both places:
I said that the communication said that if the delegation were entertained, Healdsburg would be the better place to hold the Conference. The communication itself is now found to say that in that case, "The Conference would be held in Healdsburg, if I had any voice in deciding the matter."
I said that the communication said that to hold the conference in Healdsburg would be according to the light to get out of the cities, etc. The communication is now found to say that "to hold it there would be much more in accordance with the light given to leave the cities."
Does not that communication then say all that I said that it said? and does it not say it even stronger? And in view of exactly what it does say, as compared with what I said that it said, all the argument about it in the General Conference pamphlet amounts to simply nothing.
And my question is unanswered. I asked, Was the communication a Testimony, or was it not? Coming, as it did, to us at the time, it was accepted by all as Testimony, and as authority, and as counsel to be followed. All the committees that had already been appointed and that were acting in behalf of the conference for Oakland, accepted it as such and ceased operations.
And now I ask any company of Seventh-day Adventists anywhere, If, under the circumstances that communication had come to you, what would you have considered it? What would you have done? Would not you have done just what we did? Especially when it said, "It would be held" there, "if I had any voice in deciding the matter"; would you then, and should we, have given her no voice in deciding it?
It is true that it did not bear a superscription definitely written saying, "This is Testimony." But none of us, at that time, had any idea that any such superscription was necessary. But now it seems to be argued that if a communication is written in answer to an inquiry, as this one was, it is not to be considered as a Testimony; and those who receive it are not to be influenced by it any more than if they did not have it. If that be so, then that thing should, of course, be made known to all the people so that all can know it and be free to act accordingly.
And yet it is plain that such a proposition as that will not be allowed to hold universally; because, during the session of the Lake Union Conference at Berrien Springs in the present month of May, 1906, a communication was received from that same source in answer to an inquiry that had been sent concerning the holding of a camp-meeting in Battle Creek. And this communication was read there as Testimony, as authority, and as counsel to be followed. The greater part of it was read again by the same person in the Battle Creek tabernacle, Sabbath, May 19, 1906, and was definitely called there a "Testimony."
The $5,000 to the South
On pages 49-53, four pages of the Statement are devoted to an explanation of what I said that the Testimony said was done, that stopped the sending of the five thousand dollars from going to the South.
The following are the words of that Testimony itself, of July 19, 1905:
. . . After seeing this representation, I awoke, and fully expected that the matter would take place as it had been presented to me. When Elder Haskell was telling me of the perplexity that they were in to carry forward the Southern work, I said, "Have faith in God. You will carry from this meeting the five thousand dollars needed for the purchase of the church."
But does what is published in the General Conference pamphlet on this, refute what I had said? Instead of that, it is all in fact acknowledged, on page 50. But why was it not just as easy to write and publish the three words, "I did it"; and call it plainly a confession; as it was to write and publish twelve hundred words to the same effect, and call it a "refutation"?
The Overdrawn Account
Next, concerning the overdrawn three hundred dollars: Here, again, a long argument is made and documents are printed to show that what I said was not only not true, but could not have been true. But the simple truth is that neither of the documents which they have printed is in any sense the one referred to by me as the first one, and the main one. If these two had been the only ones, there never would have been anything at all said by me on the subject. The communication that I referred to as the first one, was addressed to the Board of the institution. Both of the communications that are printed in this pamphlet are addressed to an individual. My leaflet says that the communication to which I refer "came to the Board." And all the references that I make to show it was a communication to the Board, and that I treated it as such, and that only. But they have found another communication entirely, addressed to an individual only, and not to the Board, which, of course, does not say what I quote, and, therefore, is not, in any sense, the first communication to which I refer. And upon that mistaken communication they have founded all this grand argument and sweeping "refutation"! Which is only to say that their whole argument and "refutation" is simply and altogether in the air. It does not meet, nor even touch, and much less does it answer, what I said on that point.
The second communication -- the one of September 7, 1903, -- as published by the General Conference Committee, says:
That is exactly the arrangement that the Board had originally made, and that was stopped by the first communication -- the one to the Board -- to which I referred in my leaflet. And in that communication to the Board, this arrangement of theirs was stopped because of the overdrawn account that was not overdrawn. And this one of September 7, did in that matter, reverse what was said in the first one to which I referred. Further in accordance with this reversal, this one of "September 7" says:
The first communication to which I refer, did not speak thus: It spoke in another tone. And so plain was the difference between the two in this and other points that that brother can remember that I said to him at that time and in that connection: "Now, Brother -------, take those two documents and fasten them together so that they can never get apart: so that you can always have the tangible evidence of what is Testimony, and what is not."
And, also, the truth is, and it will be found to be the truth when it is searched out, that the communication to which I refer was sent to the Board, was received through the President of the Board, was presented to the Board, and was considered by the Board in exactly the circumstances and situation as I related. And when that communication shall be found, it will be found to contain the words that I have said were in it. And the members of the Board who sat together that day on the lawn, when that communication was read, will easily recollect the occasion and circumstances, and also the words that were said by the secretary of the Board and the bookkeeper of the institution as I have said that he said.
My memory is not altogether the blank and treacherous thing that their pamphlet would make out. It has been demonstrated to have been absolutely correct, as to what was said on "I am not a prophet." Their own document demonstrates that it was correct as to what the communication said concerning the Conference in Healdsburg. It was also correct as to the five thousand dollars to the South. And when that other document shall be found, it likewise will demonstrate that my memory is correct as to what it said.
Some one may ask, "Why didn't you keep a copy of it?" I did not need any copy of it for any use of my own; and how could I ever have supposed that such things would ever come as have come to call for it? Besides, the like occurrence is not so exceptional as that that particular writing must be found or my statement fails. There is at hand another occurrence so closely similar that to illustrate the principle and the fact for which I stated the former, it perfectly answers anybody's call for "proof."
That other occurrence is as follows: A communication was sent to a certain brother reproving him for erecting "a building" or "buildings" in a certain place. But no building nor any "buildings" had been erected in that place. In further reference to this, a communication, dated Geelong, Victoria, March 10, 1900, copied March 24, 1900, says:
But in a communication, dated "Elmshaven" Sanitarium, California, October 28, 1903, copied November 4, 1903, there is said on that subject the following words:
There was a communication saying that the building or buildings had been put up, and that so much money should not have been absorbed in erecting buildings in one locality." But no buildings at all had been erected in that locality, and no such buildings had been erected in any locality. And no money at all, much less "so much money," had been so "absorbed." And the later communication plainly says that the building or buildings referred to in the former ones "had not been put up."
Now, the point is, and my question is: When that brother received the communication reproving him for putting up that building or those buildings, and for "so much money" having "been absorbed," when no building had been erected and no money had "been" thus "absorbed," could he acknowledge it as true, and confess that he had done this, when he and everybody else knew that no such thing had been done at all? If so, how could he do it? How could he possibly be true to the truth, and true to his own soul, and acknowledge that communication as true, and confess that he had erected the buildings and "absorbed" "so much money," when, by every faculty and every sense that he had, and ever evidence possible, he knew that no such thing had been done at all? And then three and a half years afterward another communication from that same hand said that the buildings "had not been put up"! Suppose that he had confessed it: then when the later communication said that the building "had not been put up," what should he have then done with his confession? Should he have then confessed his confession?
Now, this is not to say that she did not see in vision what she says that she saw. It can be freely admitted that she saw a building or buildings. But the communication did not present it as what had been only seen. The communication presented it as that which had been done, and "should not have been" done. The communication presented it as buildings erected and as "so much money" "absorbed." Look at the words again:
Plainly enough then, was not that "thought" a mistake? And was not that which was written "immediately" upon that "thought" also a mistake, as it was written? And how was it "learned afterward" that the building had not been erected? Simply by the truth and the facts in the case, of course. But in the same way the brother who was reproved for erecting the building, knew from the first that the building "had not been put up," and "so much money" had not "been absorbed." Then how could he confess that he had? How could he acknowledge it as true, in the words in which it was written?
Now that incident and the other which I have cited are sufficient to illustrate the fact and the truth that unquestionably mistakes do occur in those writings: and such mistakes as to make it impossible for me any longer to hold that everything written and sent out from that source is so entirely the word of the Lord that it must and can be accepted instantly and without any question, or any hesitation, or any thinking, other than exactly that. And when, by experience, I was compelled to recognize this it was impossible for me any longer to use them publicly and generally, to shape the course of people accordingly, or according to general plans and policies.
These facts demonstrated to me that these communications must be left with the individual person and conscience concerned, and between him and God alone; for him to consider between himself and God alone, and to be led by the Lord alone into the truth of the things written. That is the position that I was forced by the facts to take. Knowing what I do, it is the only position that I can take and be true to my own soul and to the souls of others. Whether it pleases my brethren or not, is not in the question. I am to serve God above all: and I must serve Him "in spirit and in truth."
Not a Whole Galley: Only Whole Pages
Next, about the galley of reversed and suppressed matter. The General Conference leaflet makes it quite plain that there was not a whole galley of it, but only seventy-eight lines. But seventy-eight lines is more than two whole pages. And since they acknowledge thus that whole pages were thus affected, I will frankly and willingly confess that I have made a mistake in saying it was a whole galley; and will say only "whole pages." But the principle involved is exactly the same, and still holds whether it be whole pages or a whole galley. And this is so easily seen that, since the General Conference pamphlet has been published, the principle has been well stated by a number of persons in the observation and inquiry that, "If all of it was Testimony and a message from the Lord, then who could have any right so to revise it, as thus to affect whole pages of it? or who would have the right to revise it at all?"
Not New to This Denomination
Now, I am compelled to say that this position which I found myself forced to take -- that not all is Testimony -- though new to me, is not new to others in more prominent position than I have ever been, nor is it new to the denomination. As long ago as 1883, in the "Supplement" to the Review & Herald of August 14, that year, there was printed an account of a brother who was rebuked by Sister White for conduct of which he was entirely innocent. The rebuke was given this brother on information received from another person. But the information was wrong, both as to the person and the place. The words of this brother in the Review "Supplement" are as follows:
Please bear in mind that that was printed with approval in the "Supplement" of the Review & Herald, the denominational paper. It, therefore, stands there forever as approved denominational matter. And upon that my question stands just as pertinently and just as truly as upon any of these that have come under my own observation and in my own experience: Was that a Testimony, or was it not? Should that brother have received it as a Testimony? If so, how was he to do it? The rebuke was given to him personally; it reproved him personally; when was not the person at all. The reproof was given on information supplied by another person. The information was misinformation. And this matter was printed in that Supplement for the purpose of explaining that the reproof given was not the result of a vision. But it was given as a reproof to that brother. And whatever there might have been in the circumstances referred to, he was not the man. And the question abides, Was that a Testimony and must that brother receive it as a Testimony, and say that it was all true, and confess and surrender, when, by every faculty and every sense that he had, he knew that it was not in any sense true concerning himself? And I know that as late as 1903, the like thing occurred again. And, if the General Conference Committee publicly insist on knowing "how" I know this, I can tell.
It will not do to say of this rebuke that possibly it was not written, but only spoken to that brother. For has not the Review & Herald of May 10, 1906, page 9, first column, published that it is "demonstrated" "that Testimonies, letters, symbolic actions and verbal statements of a prophet are all of the same force?"
Now, it is but proper that I should state in another way this truth: that is, that the position which I now occupy with respect to the Testimonies is not new in the denomination. Nor yet is it old, in the sense of having existed and then passed away a long time ago. It is the present day position of men who today move in General Conference circles and who have the confidence of the General Conference administration: Yes, of men who were present and active in the latest council held by the General Conference Committee, in April, 1906. Here is a statement that was written in a letter to me December 18, 1905: --
And that was written by a brother who, I repeat, moves today in General Conference circles, and has the confidence of the General Conference administration. He rightly moves in General Conference circles, and rightly has the confidence of the General Conference administration. Yet I would not give his name, lest as soon as it should be known, he, too, would be cast out. I do not count it any reproach to him that he recognizes the fact that men do manipulate the Testimonies; and that a distinction must be made between men's manipulations of them, and the Testimonies themselves. It is the sober truth.
Here is a statement from another such brother:
Here is yet another such statement:
I repeat that all three of these statements just given, were written not very long ago, and in relation to these very matters, by brethren who are in the confidence, and have the full recognition, of the General Conference administration at this present time. And on Sabbath, May 19, 1906, there was preached in the tabernacle in Battle Creek, in the very presence of the president of the General Conference himself a sermon by a member of the General Conference Committee in which he said:
Now, when these brethren hold the very views regarding the Testimonies
which I have found myself compelled to accept, why must I be cast out and condemned as
hardly worthy of even the recognition of a brother, while they occupy positions of
trust and high responsibilities; and are held in full confidence by the General Conference
administration? I have known for years that leading brethren have held this
position; but in those years I did not believe that they were right. I never
held it against them; because I recognized their perfect right to believe for themselves
as they might see things: but I did not believe that they were right. I thought that
we must not recognize that there were mistakes in the matter that as written and
sent out from the source of the Testimonies: and I acted strictly according to that view.
And when I held that view, I have now no doubt that my public use of the Testimonies in connection with boards, committees and managers of institutions must have made harder their already too difficult work. But now, to every brother anywhere in the world whose work was at any time thus made harder, or who was subjected to undue pressure, by me in such use of the Testimonies, I confess that I was wrong and did wrong; and I humbly beg your pardon. And the brethren to whom I particularly owe this confession are --
I then believed that when a communication came purporting to be a Testimony, the right thing to do was to accept it, drop everything, and turn square about, without any question, when we knew what it said, whether we understood it or not. And I acted strictly and consistently according to that belief. But, as I have stated, facts and experiences were forced upon me that compelled me to yield that particular position; and to take the position that I knew all the time that many of the leading brethren held: namely, that it must recognized that mistakes have been and are made; that men do manipulate the Testimonies; and that it is not sound for men to hold themselves, or for others to hold them, under obligation to confess anything or change their course, by a Testimony which they do not understand and when they cannot see that they are wrong.
Now, why should all this ado be made about me in this thing, when all that I have done is to change my attitude of disagreement with the leading brethren, and now stand in agreement with them just where many of them have stood all these years? This is a thing that I cannot understand. Is it because I have told openly and plainly to all the people, just the change that I have been compelled to make, and where I now stand and why I stand there: while the other brethren have not perhaps so openly made known their position? Is that the reason?
When I could be respected by the General Conference Committee and administration and by the denomination through all these years, when I held the position that differed thus from that which many of the leading brethren hold, why must I now be ostracized, and held as a pariah, because I have found myself compelled to agree with them and to accept the position that I know has been held all these years by many of the leading brethren, and which the foregoing quotations show are held by brethren who this very day are in the confidence and are respected and honored by the General Conference administration and the denomination? Must it be held as an honor to disagree with leading brethren, and a dishonor to agree with them, regarding the Testimonies? Why that should be I cannot understand. When all those others can hold that position and still be recognized as loyal to the Third Angel's Message, why can't I hold the same position and be loyal to the Third Angel's Message?
And now, in view of all these plain facts and truths, when a Testimony
is given is there not room to allow the persons concerned time and opportunity to think
and pray over it for themselves, and to be taught and led of the Lord in regard to
it without men's taking it upon themselves to publish and proclaim it, and to press men
into hard places and demand confession and surrender, and if this is not done promptly and
to their satisfaction, then the persons addressed and most concerned be excluded
from recognition or consideration? It is for the freedom of the individual
conscience, even under the Testimonies, that I plead. And do not the facts and
truths of unquestionable record, show that there must be room for this? Shall it be
recognized or will it be refused, by the Seventh-day Adventist denomination?
A Most Dangerous Thing
I again say that I have said nothing at all against the Spirit of prophecy. I have said nothing at all against the Spirit of prophecy as manifested through Sister White. I freely recognize this today and ever shall. And if Sister White were left alone with herself and God, to receive from the Lord just what He has to give her, there never would have been any of this difficulty. But instead of doing this, for years and years men and women all over the world, and men and committees of General and Local Conference administration and of institutions, instead of looking to the Lord alone and direct, and seeking the Lord for guidance, and wisdom, and understanding; and then letting the Lord send in His own way, in His own time, by His own chosen messenger, what He has to say, they have gone to her with their troubles, and their perplexities, and their difficulties, and their plans of every kind, and have looked to her for guidance, and for wisdom, and for understanding, in even the details of their every-day work. And many times men have gone to her to get from her an endorsement, or some word that they could use as an endorsement, of designs of their own already formed. I, and doubtless many others, have more than once heard her strongly protest against all this. And it is well that such protest should be made everywhere, for not only is it mischievous in many ways amongst the people, but it is one of the most dangers things that anybody can ever do toward God. And if this wrong course, of so many of the people, committees and managers, all over the world has not already reached the condition described in Ezek. 14:1-5, it is so dangerously near to it as to justify the prayerful consideration of that scripture. That word is this:
This scripture shows that one of the most dangerous things that people, even "the elders of the House of Israel," can do is to go to the prophet to enquire. For when they do so, as certainly as they indulge in their hearts their own desires, or have formed their own purposes, so certainly will they be taken in their own hearts and will be answered according to their own desires.
The True Way
No, instead of that, let everybody go to God direct: and serve Him, and pray to Him, and let Him answer in whatever way He may choose. And He will answer: and He will do it in such a way that those who seek will know that He has answered.
Here is an illustration as it occurred only a short time ago: A brother in New York City was greatly troubled concerning what might befall him in a certain course which he seemed compelled to take. He shut himself up in his room in New York City, and sought God with all the heart all day. Before the day was over he found peace and quietness of heart and soul; and knew that all would be well, though he had no idea just how. He went on in the way which he had dreaded. He went in peace, though he knew not anything more than that. When he reached the place, and the time came, there came to that place, at that time, and to those whose action most materially affected his affairs, a Testimony that made all plain and relieved this brother from undue pressure that had been upon him for years. And that Testimony was written in California, the very day on which that brother in his room in New York City was earnestly praying and seeking the Lord.
Did that brother have any difficulty in knowing that that was from the Lord? Could any others who knew the circumstances have any difficulty in knowing that that was an answer from the Lord? Let everybody in the world do always as did this brother in New York City that day, and there will never any more be any question over the Testimonies: God will have His place: His messengers will have their place: the people will be His people, and God Himself will be their God.
But when the people go to the messenger instead of to God, they then put the messenger in the place of God: and nothing but difficulty and confusion can be the result. And the more there are of those who do it, the more will be the difficulty and the more the confusion.
The Presidency of the General Conference
As to the presidency of the General Conference without the constitution: On page 19 of my leaflet I stated that "without any kind of authority, but directly against the plain words of the constitution" "two men or three men, or four men or a few men I should say," "took it absolutely upon themselves to elect you President, and Brother Prescott Vice-President of the General Conference."
Now, what is the refutation of this? Here it is:
I freely admit that there is not a single line of evidence in the minutes or in the record of the proceedings of the General Conference Committee meetings to show this. Upon the words of this "Statement" I will even go so far as to admit that he was not actually "elected" by two or three or four men. For the word "elect" does, of course, imply some sort of a motion and vote. And as this word "elected" and what it implies is in such strong words "refuted" I will accept the refutation as to that particular word, and in the place of it will say: Without any kind of authority, but directly against he plain words of the constitution, and without even the form of election, the Presidency of the General Conference was assumed by Elder A. G. Daniells some time before the General Conference of 1903.
And to the question in the "Statement," "How does Elder Jones know that this was done? What proof does he give that it was done?" I reply: I know it by the words of Brother Daniells himself. If he has forgotten it, I will so remind him of the occasion that he can remember it: Between the Pacific Press main building and the meeting house in Oakland, California, there was in 1903 a dwelling house. The rear part of the first floor of this dwelling house at that time composed the Pacific Press chapel. One day, before the opening of the General Conference of 1903, Brother Daniells called, in this chapel, a meeting of the members of the General Conference Committee who were that day in Oakland. And in that meeting of the General Conference Committee, as we were gathered at the right hand of the pulpit, or southwest corner, in that chapel, he surely can remember that he told us of his having become president of the General Conference. Surely, Brother Daniells, you cannot have so far forgotten that, as that this will not enable you to recall it. And now, you can also surely recall that just then, in the presence of the brethren assembled, I said to you: "You had no kind of right to do it."
That is "how" I originally knew it. But now
I know it by additional evidence, thus: In the Review & Herald of
December 30, 1902, beginning on page 6, and ending on page 7, there is a statement written
and signed by Brother Daniells. The heading of this statement is, "The Next
Session of the General Conference." In the statement it is said, "It is
now definitely settled that the next session of the General Conference will be held in
California, March 27 to April 13, 1903." It closes with the quotation of the
parts of the then General Conference Constitution regarding "membership, voters, and
delegates." And at the end of that statemnent wholly concerning the General
Conference, there stands the following name and title, in exactly the
following form and words:
Again: in the Review & Herald of
February 17, 1903, in the middle column of the last page, there is a twelve-line
"formal notice to all our people that the thirty-fifty session of the General
Conference of Seventh-day Adventists will convene in the city of Oakland, Cal., March 27,
1903." This "formal notice" is headed "The General
Conference." And it is signed as follows:
That is just "how" I "know," and that is the "proof" that I "give," that before the General Conference of 1903 at Oakland, California, Elder Daniells held the position and title of "President of the General Conference."
Now, however, the General Conference Committee solemnly assert that he was not "elected" by even "two men" being together. By their own "Statement," therefore, this shuts up the matter to the one only conclusion that he became president by the action of just one man. And when that is so, that one man could have been only himself.
Now I, knowing by his own words, voluntarily spoken, that he had become president of the General Conference -- yet, even I had not the heart to think that he could have done it all of himself, without at least some kind of a vote, of at least some of the brethren. But since he told us before the assembling of the Oakland Conference in 1903 that some time before that he had become president of the General Conference; and since in the Review & Herald before the Oakland Conference, he twice published himself "President of the General Conference"; and now he and the General Conference Committee, in this statement, insist that he was not "elected" even by "two" or three or four men being together, then this compels everybody to see that without any kind of authority, and directly against the plain words of the Constitution, he took it upon himself to assume the title and office of "President of the General Conference." But that is worse than to have been elected without authority. And that he should have been "elected" even by the fewest number of men, was as bad as even I had dared to think. In view of his own words, told us in the Pacific Press chapel that day, and especially in view of his own published words twice in the Review & Herald, this refutation is a confession of a more questionable thing than I could ever have thought of saying of him.
When he told it to us that day in Pacific Press chapel, though I told him at the time that he had no right to do it, I could not think but that some men, or at least some man, must have been with him in it, and had some part in persuading or advising him to it; and that therefore, in some say, by a few men, he must have been elected to it. But behold, this my charitable consideration is "refuted" with strongest words of disclaimer "that he was never elected president of the General Conference until the Oakland Conference, and then he was elected by the Conference itself in session." And thus all who heard his statement that day in Pacific Press chapel, before the assembling of the General Conference in Oakland, and all who knew of the facts before that, and all who ever read his own published words in the Review & Herald, are now compelled to recognize that entirely of himself, of his own will, without any kind of authority, and directly against the plain words of the constitution, he assumed the title and office of President of the General Conference.
Therefore, their refutation of what I said amounts to just this: "He never was elected President of the General Conference" -- he assumed it. "There is not a single line of evidence in the minutes to show that before the Oakland Conference he was ever elected President" -- he assumed it himself. That bad thing that Elder Jones says was done, was never done -- a worse thing was done!
And that is their refutation! And if the "General Conference Committee," or anybody else, can get any comfort out of such a refutation as that, they are welcome to it.
A Serious Dilemma
There is another thing in this: The General Conference Committee's "Statement" of strong and positive refutation is evidently intended to make upon the mind of the reader the distinct impression that what I had said in reference to that, was absolutely "groundless assertion."
Now is it possible that Brother Daniells and the General Conference Committee really knew nothing of the fact of his having assumed the Presidency of the General Conference at least three months before the General Conference at Oakland? Of the present General Conference Committee there are some men who were at that time directly associated with him on the Committee. Were these brethren, and was Brother Daniells, in May, 1906, indeed wholly ignorant in that matter? or remembering it, were they on the mere technical term of the word "elected," willing to make their strong and positive statement of "refutation," and so leave upon the minds of the people an impression that they knew was not true?
It is difficult to believe what is plainly involved in either horn of this dilemma. But one or the other simply has to be believed. If Brother Daniells and all his associates had absolutely forgotten that whole matter, then that fact does not at all commend them as men of clear minds and steady thinking. And if they had not so absolutely forgotten it all, that to their minds the whole matter was a dead blank, then the thing stands as far worse.
The Ready - Made Constitution
Their refutation of my statement as to that ready-made constitution is of the same sort as this concerning the presidency of the General Conference without the constitution. That is to say, the refutation is made to turn on mere technicalities. I said that that constitution was framed and carried to the General Conference in Oakland in 1903. I did not say that it was carried clear across the continent to the General Conference, nor words to that effect. I merely said that it was carried to the General Conference at Oakland. I said that none of the people nor the delegation, nor even the Committee on Constitution, had asked for it. I said that it was brought before the Committee on Constitution and was advocated there: that is, they did not bring it in any regular or constitutional way to that committee.
And that is the truth. That constitution, ready framed, and in carbon copies, was carried to that committee, and thus to that Conference, ready made. It was not first framed, nor first made, by the committee itself, in session, even from the former one as a basis. It was carried to the committee in carbon copies, and so distributed to the committee: and the committee made the new constitution that was afterward presented to the Conference, by considering item by item that ready-made thing that was carried to them. If the General Conference Committee or any others want proof in addition to this, let them ask the individuals who composed that Committee on Constitution; and they will learn that the first that the committee knew of the constitution was when, ready-made, in carbon copies, it was distributed to them in committee for their consideration. And if the brethren whom they should happen to ask, shall have forgotten it, there are those who were members of that committee who so distinctly remember it that they will testify to it in any presence.
I said that none of the people or any of the delegation had asked for
it. What some people or some members of the delegation may have said or asked for before
the Conference convened, or outside of Conference, or outside of regular order,
in a private way -- as to that I cannot say. But what I was writing about,
was plainly the "constitutional" way of doing things. And I repeat that
not in any constitutional way did any people ever ask for it. No petition nor any
request was brought before the conference by any delegate in behalf of any
people, asking for a new constitution. No delegate ever made any motion in
Conference, nor gave any notice in Conference, with reference to any new
constitution. All of which is the truth. And excluding all technicalities, in
its plain reference to the simple statements of the facts, my original statement still
stands unrefuted; and by the plain facts, it is only the sober truth to say, and it ought
to be said, that the original and only basis of the present General Conference
organization is usurpation.
One Man President
It is the same again as to the Testimony to which I refer, that declares, "It is not wise to choose one man as President of the General Conference." I said in my leaflet that ever since that word was originally published in 1897, whenever it has been quoted it has been explained, instead of obeyed, and doubtless will be so to the end. It is so in this "Statement." But I was not calling attention to the explanations. I called attention to what the Testimony says.
They acknowledge that that is what it says, and then go on to explain what it means, and this, of course, is different from what it says.
I know that in the General Conference of 1897, when it was first read, it was understood as meaning what it said: and through much deliberation and prayer there was an endeavor to conform to it by electing three presidents, instead of one. Success in this was not very marked, it is true; but it shows that that Conference to which it first came, understood that it meant what it said, and took it for what it said, instead of explaining it all away as has been done ever since.
But why must we be required to accept all these explanations of
what the Testimonies mean, instead of being left free to believe them for just what
they say? Can not we be allowed to believe what is said in plain words?
Shall we not be allowed to know what we know? Must we accept the General
Conference explanations of everything? If that be so, then what need have we
of the Testimonies, the Bible, our own faculties and senses, or any else than just the
"General Conference" explanation?
It is Not Wise
And just what that statement says is the certain truth. "It is not wise to choose one man as president of the General Conference," when the General Conference embraces the whole world. So far as this cause is concerned, that makes one man president of the whole world; and no such thing ever can be wise. Whether any Testimony ever said it or not, it is truth.
Jesus did not leave one man president, or at the head, of His cause when he left his disciples and twelve apostles in the world to carry His gospel to all the world in that generation. In so doing did Jesus do a wise thing, or did he do an unwise thing? In that, did he do a thing sufficiently wise to be followed? Or was it so lacking in wisdom that it is not wise to follow it?
Of course, the papacy argues that such a thing was so unwise that Jesus did not do it; but that He made Peter the "prince of the apostles," and left him the one man at the head of His church and of its affairs. And this because, as argued by the papacy, without such recognized authority, all would be disorganization, confusion and anarchy!
This is exactly the argument that was made also by Israel of old, when they insisted that they must have one man at their head (see Patriarchs and Prophets, Chapter lix). But Israel had to reject God in order to have one man at the head of the cause; and the papacy had to reject God in order to make her claim hold as to the one man Peter's having been set at the head of the church.
And on papal principles, it is true that without one man at the head of the church, anarchy will be the result. This for the reason that papal principles reject God; and when God is left out, then only anarchy remains. And even though the anarchy be not openly manifested the first day, it is inevitably manifested in the end.
This is true also of Israel in the days of Samuel, when they demanded that one man be at their head. They had gotten so far away from God that He had so little power in their lives that they could see nothing but anarchy coming. And this was correct; for anarchy was all that there was to it, in the course which they were pursuing.
But if all the people of Israel had sought God in earnestness and devotion, and each one individually had found God to be his Head, and his one Ruler, they would have found god to be the Head of the whole people, and the organizer of the whole cause and people. And there would have been such organization as is the only true organization; and there would have been no ground for any possible suggestion of disorganization, confusion or anarchy.
And if those who made the papacy and who required the invention of
Peter's supremacy amongst the apostles and in the Church of Christ, had each kept himself,
and had each kept himself, and had taught all the people to be, devoted to God alone, in
Christ alone, as his own personal Master and Head of the Church, no such invention could
ever have had any place. Had each officer of the Church found for himself and
had taught faithfully each one of the people to find God in Christ to be his
personal and individual Head, and thus to give to Christ the place in their lives and in
the Church that belongs to Him -- the One sole person who has the right to be at
the Head of the Church; then there never would have been such a thing as the papacy, nor
any such thing as one man at the Head and center of the Church in the whole world.
An Astounding Proposition
And what is the reason given by "the General Conference Committee," that at the head of this denomination there must be this fixture of a president of the whole world, instead of a chairman of the committee? Here it is, on page 17 and 18 of the Statement: It is because --
"The chairman could be changed at the will and caprice of the committee." And this was "the sensible thing to do in order to save the cause from sudden changes and erratic movements."
"The will and caprice"! "At the will and caprice" and "erratic movements" "of the committee"! Just look at that! Just consider that, will you? The twenty-four substantial men, chosen by the deliberation of the General Conference in session, could not be trusted for two years because of the enormity of the danger that they would act by "will and caprice"! But lo! one man must be fixed for four years at the head of affairs for the whole world -- of course because there is no danger at all that he will ever act by will or caprice! Twenty-four of the most trustworthy men in the whole field could not be trusted for only two years, ecause of the certainty of their acting "by will and caprice" and making "erratic movements." But one man must be trusted for twice as long -- inevitably because of the absolute certainty that he will never act by will or caprice.
No more monarchical argument was ever written in human language than lies in these two lines of that "Statement." Nor does that argument stop with only monarchy: it openly approaches a far more serious thing. See: Why is it that the twenty-four most trustworthy men of the denomination could not be trusted for two years with the charge of affairs? -- because of the certainty that they would act "by will and caprice." Then why is it that at the head of affairs in the whole world, one man can be trusted for four years? -- Manifestly because there is no danger that he will ever act by "will" or "caprice." Twenty-four trustworthy men are so certain to act "by will and caprice" that they cannot be rusted for even two years. But one man is so certain never to act by will or caprice that he must be trusted more than the twenty-four, and for twice as long.
But when twenty-four sober and trustworthy men are so certain to act "by will and caprice," what is the surety that one man will not act by will and caprice? Just where does that surety lie? It could not be in the man himself, for he was one of the twenty-four, and was the chairman. Then does it come to him through the title? Or from the position? Or from the chair? And does this surety of exemption from his acting by will or caprice attach to him everywhere, and in every capacity? Or does it attach to him only when he speaks officially under the title, and ex-cathedra -- from the chair?
Wherever may lie this surety of exemption from will or caprice, of one man over twenty-four men, or in whatever capacity it may attach to him, there is one thing certain: and that is that the claim of it is nothing else than identical with the claim of the infallibility of the pope. In argument and in essence, it is just that.
And that is why I said above that their argument for a one-man power does not stop with only monarchy; but openly approaches a far more serious thing. And that far more serious thing than monarchy, is the infallibility of the monarch. And that awful statement, containing that astounding argument, is issued by "the General Conference Committee" of the Seventh-day Adventists! and bears the imprint of "the General Conference Committee"! All this too in the face of the patent fact that the one man already there did act by sheer will, if not also caprice, in assuming in 1902, that very title and office.
Before the General Conference of 1897, the Spirit of prophecy said that this denomination was "following in the track of Romanism." To the General Conference of 1897, the Spirit of prophecy said, "It is not wise to choose one man as President of the General Conference." This started the denomination away from "the track of Romanism." But the start was not followed. Therefore, before the General Conference of 1901 the Spirit of prophecy declared that in the General Conference circle "a king" was enthroned; that the thing was "confused in itself"; and that finally it would "come to nought." In the General Conference of 1901 the denomination was again started away from "the track of Romanism." But in 1902, by one man or two men or a few men, it was swung back to that "track," and in the General Conference of 1903, it was fastened there. And now, in 1906, it is so entrenched, and so confident of its position, that "the General Conference Committee" issues a "Statement" in which in behalf of one man at the head of this denomination, a reason is given that reasons nothing less than a claim that is identical with that of the infallibility of the pope!
The question now is, Do the people of this denomination endorse the position that one man is so much less liable than are twenty-four most trustworthy men to act "by will and caprice," that he must be trusted more and twice as long as could the twenty-four?
And here is a situation worth thinking of: Years ago the Testimony said that "The follies of Israel in the days of Samuel" would be "repeated" among this people, if there was not a truer devotion to God. The chief folly of Israel in the days of Samuel, was not only that they asked for a king -- that one man should be at their head; but that this was the second time that Israel had come to that point. Read Judges 8::22, 23; 9:1-57; 1 Sam. 8:1-22.
And of the General Conference of this Seventh-day Adventist denomination, in the Battle Creek College Library, April 1, 1901, the Spirit of prophecy said that "a king" was enthroned. At that time and in the General Conference following that day, God definitely called the General Conference and the denomination away from that kingship. But in 1902-03, the General Conference and the denomination were swung back to that "kinglike, kingly ruling power," the second time: exactly repeating the chief folly "of Israel in the days of Samuel." And if this course and the present situation do not mark the fulfillment of that prediction, then if ever the prediction shall be fulfilled, it will be hard to fulfill it more exactly than has been done. And to argue now that this centralized power must be continued as a barrier against disorganization and anarchy, is sheer vanity. It did not save Israel from disorganization and anarchy. For Israel, disorganization and anarchy was in the thing at the very start: and though this did not show itself immediately, yet it did show itself in all its terrible results in the end. Read again pages 13-19 of my leaflet of March 4-19 of my leaflet of March 4, and see what was said in the College Library that day.
It is too late, brethren, forever too late -- the end is too near; to indulge any experiments either with "the follies of Israel" or "in the track of Romanism."
Yet for all this, please bear in mind that I do not say that the brethren know what they are doing, and are of fell purpose doing it. I only say that they and everybody else can know what they are doing, if they will simply sober down and take time to think and consider Scripture and principles and history as they are. I shall have no war to make on the brethren, nor upon the system that has been formed, nor upon the denomination that accepts it. My work is and shall be only to preach the Third Angel's Message of the everlasting gospel of warning against the worship of the beast and his image; and of salvation from that worship.
I do not believe that in the Seventh-day Adventist denomination there will be disorganization, confusion and anarchy, if the denomination should not have the fixture of one man at its head. I do not believe it, because I do not believe that the Seventh-day Adventists know so little of Christ that He has no control of them and cannot Himself lead and guide and organize them. And I know by the eternal truth, that the Lord Jesus Christ alone, in His place at and as the Head of His Church, is able to organize His people, His Church, and His cause, far better than can be done without Him in that place, and with a man in that place at he head of His cause.
I will not believe that it is high treason to Christ nor to His people, nor to His cause, nor to His organized Church and work in the world, to teach all people everywhere to find the personal Christ, and be joined to Him, and to live in Him alone as their only Head, and the only Head of His Church, His cause and His work in the world. I never will believe that it is disorganization, or confusion, or anarchy to teach all people everywhere that Christ alone is the Head of every man, and that thus He alone is the Head and organizer of His Church and people, and of His cause and work in the world.
Therefore, my work is, and shall be, only to persuade all people so to seek God, in Christ, by the Holy Spirit, through His word, that each individual shall know God in Christ as his Head: so that I may do all that my ministry can possibly accomplish to restore to Christ, and to God in Christ, the place that belongs to Him alone as the sole Head of the Church; and the place which He occupied alone, when He was on earth and when He ascended to Heaven.
And it is worth remembering that that little company of believers in Him whom He left as His Church on earth when He ascended to Heaven, each one of them through the Holy Spirit at Pentecost finding and holding God in Christ as his personal Head, and knowing Him alone as the only person at he Head of the Church -- let it not be forgotten that that little company actually carried the gospel to all the world in that generation.
Let Christ have again in His own Church, the place that belongs
to him alone as the only person at and as the Head of His Church, and again it will be,
that the gospel will be actually carried to all the world in this generation.
And until Christ shall have this His place as sole Head of His Church and cause,
that thing never can be done.
No Such Campaign
In my leaflet I spoke of "the campaign against Dr. Kellogg," and gave a number of facts and experiences, and some words, that showed that there has been such a thing. To this, the "Statement" answers: "There is no such campaign." Yet it is only fair to say that if all the people who shall read that "Statement" had for the past three and a half years been where I have been, and had heard said what I have heard said, and knew what I know, they would be ready to conclude that if in truth there has been "no such campaign," then the words of our language should have new definitions to convey their meaning.
However, as the "Statement" says that it is a "campaign against error," and to "uproot" the "baneful influence" of "the seeds of doubt and unbelief sown broadcast"; and as it was declared at the Lake Union Conference in this month of May, 1906, that this campaign is still to be carried on "from end to end of the land"; and the "Statement" says that "Elder Jones may boast, if he wishes, that he will 'never take any part' in this campaign against error"; I answer: I do not particularly "boast," but I am glad thus to repeat that I will never take any part in it. This, for the simple and thoroughly sound reason that it is infinitely better to preach the truth than it is to "campaign against error"! It is infinitely better to plant the truth than it ever can be to try to uproot error. It is infinitely more profitable to all to preach the faith than it ever can be to spend time and effort in trying to uproot doubt and unbelief. Nor will I spend any time or effort in "defending the faith" of "this denomination." I will preach the faith of Jesus. All that the faith of Christ needs, the true faith, is only that it be preached. I want neither any faith nor any cause that can ever need to be saved. I want only the faith and the cause that ever saves me and all who will espouse it. "Keep to the affirmative of the truth." "Preach the word."
Besides, I personally know for certain that in this "campaign against error," views have been denounced and opposed as errors when, in the connection in which they were opposed, the errors had no shadow of existence except in the imagination of those who made the campaign.
Is Not This Right?
Many times lately have I been asked, "How is this controversy going to be stopped?" I answer, "I do not know how it is going to be stopped; but I know how it can be stopped, most effectually, and in a day." Let each person himself stop it; and go to preaching the Third Angel's Message just as that Message is in the Bible, and just as conditions on the earth now demand that it shall be preached. That is what I now purpose only to do. That is all that I was doing, up to last January. But when my doing only this, and when my very silence concerning this controversy was made a fault that demanded explanation, and was made the cause of such perplexity to many people that the perplexity required relief, after the second challenge I made my statement. I made it not at all as charges, but only as experience that compelled me to stand as I do. I made it not as doctrine for other people, but only as my own experience. I thought to make it so plain that it would be understood. But it has been so misunderstood and so misrepresented, and with such positiveness of argument declared that I "never heard" what I heard, and of such high inquiry as to "how" I "know" what I know, that I have made this second statement.
And now I am done with it. What I have said is true. Whether anybody believes it or not; no whether anybody further misrepresents it or not, is nothing to me any more. For when I have stated the truth and made it plain, that is all that I care for. So now I say, I shall spend my time in preaching and teaching the Third Angel's Message; not indirectly, through some other issue; but directly, as that Message is in the Bible, and as it is called for by the awful conditions in the world and amongst the nations. And why is not this the right, yes, the only right thing for every one to do?
An Appeal to the People
And now I appeal directly to the people of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. Are you going to sanction or endorse any minister's doing anything else than preach the Third Angel's Message direct, as that Message is in the Bible, and as it is now due to all this world? Are you going to pay your money and the Lord's tithe for the preaching of anything else than the preaching of the Third Angel's Message direct, as it is in the Bible and as it is now so sorely needed by the people of the world? Are you going to sanction the expenditure of your gifts and the Lord's tithe in men's traveling "from end to end of the land," carrying on a controversy with people who are just as true Seventh-day Adventists as themselves, and who love the Third Angel's Message as truly as themselves do? Have they the last message of mercy to the world? Then please let there be seen some mercy to the Church, and to our own brethren whom the Lord loves, and who love the Lord as truly we do.
Brethren may spend their time and the Lord's money that way, if they choose. I shall have no controversy with them. But as for me, I know that I can spend my time and my money, and the Lord's money, too, in a better way and to better purpose than that. And I am going to do it, and that alone. I am doing it. If ever I preached the Third Angel's Message anywhere, I am now preaching it in the Sanitarium. And if any want to verify this, they can do so simply by reading the Medical Missionary. And this preaching is so welcome here, that never anywhere was I more free to do it than I am here. The day will come when I shall preach it in other places also, to the people of the world, who do not know it. And they will hear it. And now, in order that there may be no ground for doubt or uncertainty as to what my position is, I make to all the people the following statement:
And to every word and every principle and every
sentiment of that, who cannot and who will not say, Amen! and amen! forever; and subscribe
to it, as I do?
Category: Pioneer Documents
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