Post 75, Ellen White and Conservatism: Dr Lester Devine’s Research

For me this started in the late 1970s. In those days there were 800 or so

Adventist Physicians and Dentists in California — and they were giants in

the land.  Their education, status, prestige, and in many cases their

wealth, gave them disproportionate influence in the Church — and as a group

they kind of liked that.

Each year they had ‘Big Weekend’ where they networked and dreamed up stuff to give

church leaders additional heartburn.  Central California was the

logical place to hold these get-togethers and twice in our years at

Bakersfield Adventist Academy these annual events were held downtown.

Now — Bakersfield is an interesting place.  Most people never stop there

except for gas and when they do they tell you they stopped for fuel at

midnight and the temperature was ‘110 in the shade.’  The locals reckon it

gets so hot there in the summer that if you dig down six inches you can hear

voices!

Anyway — back on point.  The Chairman of the Academy Board was usually a Physician or Dentist and the custom was that he would provide complimentary tickets to the Academy Principal of the day and his wife for ‘Big Weekend’ each year.  Apparently, though not one of the blessed exalted ones, status as a Senior Academy Principal made one marginally respectable in such august company, though Noreen was never so sure about that.

So Desmond Ford came into town from Pacific Union College as the featured speaker and it was good to see him again and to meet Gillian for the first time.  One of his topics electrified me — how Ellen White despised conservatives; delivered with all the usual flair and with the lobbing of many hand grenades.  One got the impression that Desmond had had it with his conservative critics and was giving them a right royal serve.  The medical fraternity audience loved it for as far as the Church was concerned these folk tended to regard denominational leaders as second-rate people and an obstacle to progress. Remember this was California; had the Pacific Union seen value in the General Conference it would have moved it out west decades earlier.

I was so excited — I could use some of these quotes for a Board meeting

devotional and make a few points with my reactionary critics.  Know also

that I was a member of Bakersfield Hillcrest, pastored then by Barry

Crabtree, and the home congregation of Lewis Walton who would later write

that dreadful little uninformed book, Omega.  Lewis saw himself as the

conscience of the Church and manufactured many bullets for others to fire,

some of them lobbing over the fence from Hillcrest and onto the Academy

campus.

Added to this was his distaste for Barry Crabtree and his firm opinion that anyone from ‘down-under’ was theologically suspect as most of the theological problems in the Church seemed to originate from that part of the world.  Certainly they were all Liberals (note the large L).

So — once back on campus I headed straight for the library and looked up

‘conservative’ in the three volume index and was discombobulated the word

was not there!  Des would have not mis-stated; his critics would have had a

field day with him had he done that.  Something was going on here I did not

understand — so I put the matter aside; on the shelf.

Later when the four volume index came out I had an eager look there too; same result.  So — back on the shelf until I arrived at the Ellen G. White/SDA Research Centre at Avondale and one of the first things I did was ask Marian de Berg to do a search on the CD-ROM and the result is attached for your amazement and amusement.

Now I will not speculate why this extensive use of the word ‘conservative’

never made it into the Index because I could have more fun with that than

any Christian should.  But what Ellen White said is important.

So over the years since, I have had my fun sharing the print-out with

denominational leaders in the breaks between meetings and gotten a kick out

of how they blanch when they start reading and then give up half-way down

the first page.

Conservative, Conservatism, etc : The Quotes from Ellen White

We are too quickly discouraged, and earnestly cry for the trial to be removed from us, when we should plead for patience to endure and grace to overcome. 1T 310.

When God raises up men to do His work, they are false to their trust if they allow their testimony to be shaped to please the minds of the unconsecrated. He will prepare men for the times.  They will be humble, God-fearing men, not conservative, not policy men; but men who have moral independence and will move forward in the fear of the Lord.  They will be kind, noble, courteous, yet they will not be swayed from the right path, but will proclaim the truth in righteousness whether men will hear or whether they will forbear.–Testimonies, Vol. 5, pp. 262-263. Compare ChL, 73.3

The work which the church has failed to do in a time of peace and prosperity, she will have to do in a terrible crisis, under most discouraging, forbidding, circumstances. The warnings that worldly conformity has silenced or withheld, must be given under the fiercest opposition from enemies of the faith. And at that time the superficial, conservative class, whose influence has steadily retarded the progress of the work, will renounce the faith, and take their stand with its avowed enemies, toward whom their sympathies have long been tending. These apostates will then manifest the most bitter enmity, doing all in their power to oppress and malign their former brethren, and to excite indignation against them. This day is just before us. The members of the church will individually be tested and proved. They will be placed in circumstances where they will be forced to bear witness for the truth. Many will be called to speak before councils and in courts of justice, perhaps separately and alone. The experience which would have helped them in this emergency they have neglected to obtain, and their souls are burdened with remorse for wasted opportunities and neglected privileges.–Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 463. ChS, 158.1.

A Sign of Growth.–Whenever the people of God are growing in grace, they will be constantly obtaining a clearer understanding of His word. They will discern new light and beauty in its sacred truths. This has been true in the history of the church in all ages, and thus it will continue to the end. But as real spiritual life declines, it has ever been the tendency to cease to advance in the knowledge of the truth. Men rest satisfied with the light already received from God’s word, and discourage any further investigation of the Scriptures. They become conservative, and seek to avoid discussion.–CW, 38.

The fact that there is no controversy or agitation among God’s people, should not be regarded as conclusive evidence that they are holding fast to sound doctrine. There is reason to fear that they may not be clearly discriminating between truth and error. When no new questions are started by investigation of the Scriptures, when no difference of opinion arises which will set men to searching the Bible for themselves, to make sure that they have the truth, there will be many now, as in ancient times, who will hold to tradition, and worship they know not what. CW, p. 39.

Peter exhorts his brethren to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,” 2 PETER 3:18. Whenever the people of God are growing in grace, they will be constantly obtaining a clearer understanding of His word. They will discern new light and beauty in its sacred truths. This has been true in the history of the church in all ages, and thus it will continue to the end. But as real spiritual life declines, it has ever been the tendency to cease to advance in the knowledge of the truth. Men rest satisfied with the light already received from God’s word, and discourage any further investigation of the Scriptures. They become conservative, and seek to avoid discussion. GW, p.297.2.

To the conservative and compromising, these arguments seemed conclusive. But there was another class that did not so judge. The fact that these customs “tended to bridge over the chasm between Rome and the Reformation” (Martyn, volume 5, page 22), was in their view a conclusive argument against retaining them. They looked upon them as badges of the slavery from which they had been delivered and to which they had no disposition to return. They reasoned that God has in His word established the regulations governing His worship, and that men are not at liberty to add to these or to detract from them. The very beginning of the great apostasy was in seeking to supplement the authority of God by that of the church. Rome began by enjoining what God had not forbidden, and she ended by forbidding what He had explicitly enjoined.  GC, p. 289.

The work which the church has failed to do in a time of peace and prosperity she will have to do in a terrible crisis under most discouraging, forbidding circumstances. The warnings that worldly conformity has silenced or withheld must be given under the fiercest opposition from enemies of the faith. And at that time the superficial, conservative [ELLEN WHITE IS NOT HERE DISTINGUISHING THEOLOGICAL CONSERVATIVES FROM THEIR LIBERAL COUNTERPARTS; SHE IS DESCRIBING THOSE WHO PUT “WORLDLY CONFORMITY” FIRST AND GOD’S CAUSE SECOND.] class, whose influence has steadily retarded the progress of the work, will renounce the faith.–5T, p. 463 (1885),  LDE, p.174.

Morality cannot be separated from religion. Conservative tradition received from educated men and from the writings of great men of the past are not all a safe guide for us in these last days; for the great struggle before us is such as the world has never seen. The brethren who have not acted a part in this work in the past need to move with far greater caution in regard to that which they accept and that which they refuse; they need to penetrate much deeper than their limited spiritual knowledge or their present habits or opinions would lead them to do. All these may need reforming.  MM , p. 99.1.

Presidents may become too conservative and narrow in their leadership.–Elder M, as president of the _____ Conference, you have shown by your general management that you are unworthy of the trust reposed in you. You have shown that you are conservative, and that your ideas are narrow. You have not done one half what you might have done had you had the true spirit of the work. You might have been far more capable and experienced than you now are; you might have been far better prepared to manage successfully this sacred and important mission a work which would have given you the strongest claim to the general confidence of our people. But, like the other ministering brethren in your state, you have failed to advance with the opening providence of God; you have not shown that the Holy Spirit was deeply impressing your heart, so that God could speak through you to His people. If in this crisis you do anything to strengthen doubt and distrust in the churches of your state, anything that will prevent the people from engaging heartily in this work, God will hold you responsible. Has God given you unmistakable evidence that the brethren of your state are excused from the responsibility of putting their arms about the city of _____ as Christ has put His arms about them? If you were standing in the light, you would encourage this mission by your faith.–5T, p.370. PaM, p.106.1

The lowly, those bound with poverty, pressed with care, burdened with toil, could find no reason in His life and example which would lead them to think that Jesus was not acquainted with their trials, knew not the pressure of their circumstances, and could not sympathize with them in their want and sorrow. The lowliness of His humble, daily life was in harmony with His lowly birth and circumstances. The Son of the infinite God, the Lord of life and glory, descended in humiliation to the life of the lowliest, that no one might feel himself excluded from His presence. He made Himself accessible to all. He did not select a favored few with whom to associate and ignore all others. It grieves the Spirit of God when conservatism shuts man away from his fellow man, especially when it is found among those who profess to be His children. 1SM, p. 260.1.

There are those who will, through hasty, ill-advised moves, betray the cause of God into the enemy’s power. There will be men who will seek to be revenged, who will become apostates and betray Christ in the person of His saints. All need to learn discretion; then there is danger on the other hand of being conservative, of giving away to the enemy in concessions. . . .  3SM, p.397.2.

The great work of reform must go forward. The Health Institute has been established at Battle Creek to relieve the afflicted, to disseminate light, to awaken the spirit of inquiry, and to advance reform. This institution is conducted upon principles which are different from those of any other hygienic institution in the land. Money is not the great object with its friends and conductors. They conduct it from a conscientious, religious standpoint, aiming to carry out the principles of Bible hygiene. Most institutions of the kind are established upon different principles and are conservative, making it their object to meet the popular class halfway and to so shape their course that they will receive the greatest patronage and the most money.  3T, p. 165.2.

I saw you listening to the conversation of men and women, and saw that you were only too pleased to gather up their views and impressions that were detrimental to our labors. Some found fault with one thing, and some with another, as did the murmurers among the children of Israel when Moses was their leader. Some were censuring our course, saying that we were not as conservative as we ought to be; we did not seek to please the people as we might; we talked too plainly; we reproved too sharply. Some were talking in regard to Sister White’s dress, picking at straws. Others were expressing dissatisfaction with the course that Brother White pursued, and remarks were passing from one to another, questioning their course and finding fault. An angel stood before these persons, unseen by them, busily writing their words in the book which is to be opened to the view of God and angels. 3T, p. 312f.

It was not my duty to urge the subject upon my sisters. After presenting it before them as it had been shown me, I left them to their own conscience. Reformatory action is always attended with sacrifice. It demands that love of ease, selfish interest, and the lust of ambition be held in subjection to the principles of right. Whoever has the courage to reform must encounter obstacles. He will be opposed by the conservatism of those whose business or pleasure brings them in contact with the votaries of fashion, and who will lose caste by the change.  4T, p. 636.2.

There are some in —– who ought to be men instead of boys and heavenly minded instead of earthly and sensual; but their spiritual vision has become obscured; the Saviour’s great love has not ravished their souls. He has many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now. You are children in growth and cannot comprehend the mysteries of God. When God raises up men to do His work, they are false to their trust if they allow their testimony to be shaped to please the minds of the unconsecrated. He will prepare men for the times. They will be humble, God-fearing men, not conservative, not policy men; but men who have moral independence and will move forward in the fear of the Lord. They will be kind, noble, courteous; yet they will not be swayed from the right path, but will proclaim the truth in righteousness whether men will hear or whether they will forbear.  5T, p. 263.1

Elder M, as president of the —– Conference, you have shown by your general management that you are unworthy of the trust reposed in you. You have shown that you are conservative, and that your ideas are narrow. You have not done one half what you might have done had you had the true spirit of the work. You might have been far more capable and experienced than you now are; you might have been far better prepared to manage successfully this sacred and important mission–a work which would have given you the strongest claim to the general confidence of our people. But, like the other ministering brethren in your state, you have failed to advance with the opening providence of God; you have not shown that the Holy Spirit was deeply impressing your heart, so that God could speak through you to His people. If in this crisis you do anything to strengthen doubt and distrust in the churches of your state, anything that will prevent the people from engaging heartily in this work, God will hold you responsible. Has God given you unmistakable evidence that the brethren of your state are excused from the responsibility of putting their arms about the city of —– as Christ has put His arms about them? If you were standing in the light, you would encourage this mission by your faith.  5T, p. 370.3.

The work which the church has failed to do in a time of peace and prosperity she will have to do in a terrible crisis under most discouraging, forbidding circumstances. The warnings that worldly conformity has silenced or withheld must be given under the fiercest opposition from enemies of the faith. And at that time the superficial, conservative class, whose influence has steadily retarded the progress of the work, will renounce the faith and take their stand with its avowed enemies, toward whom their sympathies have long been tending. These apostates will then manifest the most bitter enmity, doing all in their power to oppress and malign their former brethren and to excite indignation against them. This day is just before us. The members of the church will individually be tested and proved. They will be placed in circumstances where they will be forced to bear witness for the truth. Many will be called to speak before councils and in courts of justice, perhaps separately and alone. The experience which would have helped them in this emergency they have neglected to obtain, and their souls are burdened with remorse for wasted opportunities and neglected privileges.  5T, p. 463.2.

Peter exhorts his brethren to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Whenever the people of God are growing in grace, they will be constantly obtaining a clearer understanding of His word. They will discern new light and beauty in its sacred truths. This has been true in the history of the church in all ages, and thus it will continue to the end. But as real spiritual life declines, it has ever been the tendency to cease to advance in the knowledge of the truth. Men rest satisfied with the light already received from God’s word and discourage any further investigation of the Scriptures. They become conservative and seek to avoid discussion.  5T, p.706.2.

The lowly, those bound with poverty, pressed with care, burdened with toil, could find no reason in his life and example which would lead them to think that Jesus was not acquainted with their trials, knew not the pressure of their circumstances, and could not sympathize with them in their want and sorrow. The lowliness of his humble, daily life was in harmony with his lowly birth and circumstances. The Son of the infinite God, the Lord of life and glory, descended in humiliation to the life of the lowliest, that no one might feel himself excluded from his presence. He made himself accessible to all. He did not select a favored few with whom to associate and ignore all others. It grieves the Spirit of God when conservatism shuts man away from his fellow-man, especially when it is found among those who profess to be his children.  RH, 22 December 1891, par. 10.

Conservative traditions received from educated men, and from the writings of great men of the past, are not safe guides for us in these last days; for the great struggle before us is such as the world has never seen before. Those who have not acted a part in this work in the past, need to move with great caution in regard to accepting or refusing what may be presented to them as truth. They need to penetrate much deeper than their limited spiritual knowledge, or their present habits or opinions would lead them to do. We are not one of us safe unless we live as seeing Him who is invisible, even with past experience in the work; and we certainly are not safe, if we have not had that experience. Daily, hourly, we must be actuated by the principles of Bible truth,–righteousness, mercy, and the love of God. He who would have moral and intellectual power must draw from the divine source. At every point of decision inquire, “Is this the way of the Lord?” With your Bibles open before you, consult sanctified reason and a good conscience. Your heart must be moved, your soul touched, your reason and intellect awakened, by the Spirit of God; and then holy principles revealed in the word of God will give light to the soul. The true source of wisdom and virtue and power is the cross of Calvary. Christ is the author and finisher of our faith. He says, “Without me ye can do nothing.”  RH, 7 February 1893, par. 13.

It is the design of God that through man his glory shall be revealed to the world; but it is only those who connect themselves with God in Jesus Christ, who can reveal that goodness and that fidelity which Christ manifested in his life. As the branches of the vine are united in the parent stock, so will the children of God be united as one in Christ. They are to reveal to the world the character of God. They must study the Scriptures with the purpose in view of living the unselfish life of Christ. The true Christian will not become self-centered or conservative in his plans. “Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” As God’s grace is given us freely, so it must be imparted to others. Through the apostle we are admonished, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.”  RH, 30 May 1899, par. 13.

The Health Institute has been established . . . to relieve the afflicted, to disseminate light, to awaken the spirit of inquiry, and to advance reform. This institution is conducted upon principles which are different from those of any other hygienic institution in the land. Money is not the great object with its friends and conductors. They conduct it from a conscientious, religious standpoint, aiming to carry out the principles of Bible hygiene. Most institutions of the kind are established upon different principles, and are conservative, making it their object to meet the popular class halfway, and so to shape their course that they will receive the greatest patronage and the most money. . . .  RH, 21 May 1914, par. 1.

Those temptations are most dangerous which come from the professed servants of God, and from our friends. When persons who are uniting with the world, yet claiming great piety and love, counsel the faithful workers for God to be less zealous and more conservative, our answer must be an appeal to the word of God. When they plead for union with those who have been our determined opposers, we should fear and shun them as decidedly as did Nehemiah. Those who would lead away from the old landmarks to form a connection with the ungodly, cannot be sent of Heaven. Whatever may have been their former position, their present course tends to unsettle the faith of God’s people.  ST, 3 January 1884, par. 14.

“After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.” The seventy were appointed to go on their missionary journeys some months after the twelve had been appointed to visit the lost sheep of the house of Israel. When the twelve were sent forth, they were restricted to the tribes of Israel, lest their missionary efforts should create prejudice among the Jews, whose teaching had been of such a character as to make them narrow in their ideas in regard to the extension of the gospel to other nationalities. The disciples themselves could scarcely comprehend the fact that the blessings of God were for the Gentiles as well as for the Jews, and had to unlearn many lessons that made them conservative in their views concerning the mission and work of the Messiah. But evidences were given them that prepared them to understand that the tidings of the kingdom of Christ were to be preached to all nations. Now that their sympathies were broadening, and their ideas expanding in regard to the purpose of God, Christ desired them to act out their faith before he should be removed from them, that there might be no misunderstanding in regard to the extension of the gospel.  ST, 10 December 1894, par. 1.

The sending out of the disciples on a missionary tour was a most important movement, as it was a breaking away from the old, narrow conservatism of the Jews, and would have a tendency to lead them away from their prejudices against other nations, and establish them in a larger charity. He wished them to be impressed with the necessity of planting the truth in the hearts of all men, with the thought that all who would come might come to him, and by believing in him have life through his name. The time was approaching when he should leave his followers, but he promised them that the Spirit should come to lead them into all truth, to illuminate to their minds the Scriptures which he had himself given to patriarchs and prophets. No longer were the Gentiles to be kept in heathenism, or, as it were, in the outer courts of the temple.  ST, 10 December 1894, par. 3.

Those temptations are most dangerous which come from the professed servants of God, and from our friends. When persons who are uniting with the world, yet claiming great piety and love, counsel the faithful workers for God to be less zealous and more conservative, our answer must be an appeal to the word of God. When they plead for union with those who have been our determined opposers, we should fear and shun them as decidedly as did Nehemiah. Those who would lead away from the old landmarks to form a connection with the ungodly, can not be sent of heaven. Whatever may have been their former position, their present course tends to unsettle the faith of God’s people.  SW, 24 May 1904, par. 6.

If you truly belong to Christ, you will have opportunities for witnessing for him. You will be invited to attend places of amusement, and then it will be that you will have an opportunity to testify to your Lord. If you are true to Christ then, you will not try to form excuses for your non-attendance, but will plainly and modestly declare that you are a child of God, and your principles would not allow you to be in a place, even for one occasion, where you could not invite the presence of your Lord. We should not permit the spirit of conservatism to lead us to misrepresent our Lord. Our daily influence must be like that of Christ. We must practice self-denial, overcome temptation, and daily grow in grace. We cannot be witnesses for Christ without his Holy Spirit to work upon our hearts; but he has said that our heavenly Father is more willing to give us the Holy Spirit, than parents are to give good gifts to their children. We are to receive the Holy Spirit, and through its agency the sinner will be impressed with the fact that in Jesus there are to be found joys superior to those of earth.  YI, 4 May 1893, par. 5.

The great work of reform must go forward. The Health Institute has been established at Battle Creek to relieve the afflicted, to disseminate light, to awaken the spirit of inquiry, and to advance reform. This institution is conducted upon different principles than any other hygienic institution in the land. Money is not the great object with its friends and conductors. This institution is conducted from a conscientious, religious standpoint, aiming to carry out the principles of Bible hygiene. Most institutions of the kind are established upon different principles, and are conservative, with the object to meet the popular class half way, and shape their course in that manner that they will receive the greatest patronage, and the most money.  PH, p. 138 8.1.

Great efforts have been made to secure the patronage of the wealthy. The Sanitarium has not been a success, and will not prove such, unless those who are connected with it shall give it a different mold. If this institution shall be conducted as it has been, with so little of the influence of the Holy Spirit, it will not answer the purpose of God, and will be rejected by him. It was Satan’s device to lead to a great expenditure of means in building and furnishing, when there were not sufficient funds to sustain such an outlay. Those who were responsible for this heavy debt, felt that extra effort must be made to secure patients; hence a conservative spirit has come in; little by little has the transforming been going on in the Sanitarium, until the object for which it was started has been almost lost.  PH, p. 100 55.2.

We have all kinds of material to deal with. There are those who will, through hasty, unadvised moves, betray the cause of God into the enemy’s power. There will be men who will seek to be revenged who will become apostates and betray Christ in the person of His saints. All need to learn discretion; then there is danger on the other hand of being conservative, of giving away to the enemy in concession. Our brethren should be very cautious in this matter for the honor of God. They should make God their fear and their dread. Should this Conference make resolutions and pass them, that it would be right and proper for Seventh-day Adventists to rest on the first day of the week in order to avoid arrests and what might probably arise if they did not obey the laws, would this be showing that we stand in right relation to God’s holy law? Exodus 31:12-17, 1888, p.483.1.

Ellen White was now 29 years of age and was beginning to speak to large non-Adventist audiences. This is a phase of her work that would develop rather rapidly. The outlook in conservative New England at the time was rather discouraging, and James reported see 1BIO, p. 357.2:

We were more than ever convinced that but little can be accomplished in New England at present. Brethren Sperry, Hutchins, and Phillips will probably visit the West this summer, and hold some tent meetings in Michigan in the Vermont tent. In such an atmosphere, and with the contrasting positions of two prominent men in the college, the conservative Bell was crowded out. He was not without some weaknesses and defects, of course. The published 1872 Testimony to the Church at Battle Creek, based on Ellen White’s vision of December 10, 1871, makes this clear. But he was also the subject of many words of commendation from Ellen White, of which the following is typical. 3BIO, p. 189.5.

The Lord has shown me the value of Brother Bell’s labors. The Lord has commended his thoroughness as a teacher, both in the college and in the Sabbath school. When it was suggested that Brother Bell travel and labor in the Sabbath school interest in different States, I said at once that I did not see how he could be spared from the college.–Testimony for the Battle Creek Church, p. 31; 3BIO, p.190.1.

He has had lots of experience clearing land, and also in handling timber. He has had full experience in running a sawmill. He can build a house or a boat, and has had much experience as salesman, and can keep books. He is a close, conservative man, and may lack breadth in his plans. But he has a high regard for Brother Rousseau, and this would help him some. It appears to me that Rousseau and Hare would make a good team to work together in clearing, making roads, putting up the workshop, and getting material for the girls’ hall ready for the builder.–Ibid., p. 188;  4BIO, p. 219.3.

Ellen White was urged to attend the camp meeting in Victoria, scheduled for March 8 to 18 in Geelong (UCR, 1 March 1900). Geelong is a beautiful, well-laid-out city about fifty miles southwest of Melbourne. A Mr. Watson, a church member, gave L25 to encourage the church leaders to have a camp meeting held there, and a tent 55 by 104 feet was pitched in the center of the city. As it was a conservative city, there was some question about attendance, especially when it was known that the local ministers warned their people not to go to the meetings. There were about two hundred church members on the grounds for the meetings, but attendance ranged from five hundred to 1,500. G. B. Starr reported that the Spirit of God stirred the place (ibid., 1 April 1900). A. G. Daniells, E. W. Farnsworth, and Mrs. E. G. White were the principal speakers.  4BIO, p. 453.3.

The reader will recall that at the time the Loma Linda property became available in May, 1905, for $40,000, Ellen White urged Elder Burden to move forward in its acquisition. Considerable opposition developed because the Southern California Conference, with its 1,100 members who would be responsible for its purchase, was already heavily in debt. With a new secondary school, San Fernando Academy, just getting well started, and with Glendale Sanitarium just opening its doors, to make further heavy financial commitments seemed not only unreasonable but almost impossible to the conservative conference president, Elder George W. Reaser. 6BIO, p.145.2,

The question as to what the pope has arrogated to himself is a difficu one. The church has attributed to him all that is claimed in our books, and he has received it and acted upon it, but it is a little difficult to prove from histories within our reach that he has assumed the titles of the Deity and the right to change divine law, and Mother may decide that it is best for us to take a very conservative position in view of the controversies before us.  6BIO, p.319.3.

Pacific Union College, nearby, was one of the schools holding to the more conservative position. Its president, C. W. Irwin, had served in the Avondale school, where the school calendar quoted from an E. G. White letter stating, see 6BIO, p. 383.1:

We have labored hard to keep in check everything in the school like favoritism, attachments, and courting. We have told the students that we would not allow the first thread of this to be interwoven with their schoolwork. On this point we are as firm as a rock.–Letter 145, 1897.

Arthur Patrick, posted 2 September 2012

 

About adventiststudies

Arthur Nelson Patrick, DMin, PhD, is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Avondale College of Higher Education, New South Wales, Australia
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