ROOTS OF THE MESSAGE AND MISSION OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS
To understand the beginnings and growth of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the British Isles it becomes necessary to trace the movement from the United States of America where the denomination began during the middle of the nineteenth century. The movement cannot be understood apart from its historical heritage. In the United States of America the church grew out of an interest in the Second Advent of Jesus Christ as experienced in the Millerite movement, and the events, beliefs, and meaning of that experience have been largely engraved on the corporate memory, and serve to shed light on its course and mission. Also, there is the function of an inner conviction that the movement has received a specific mandate to proclaim worldwide what it considers end-time messages. With this conviction comes the belief that this movement was accorded supernatural guidance through the ministry of Ellen Gould White to enable it to achieve that worldwide mission. All this must be seen in historical perspective in order to understand the motivating force of the young nineteenth century Seventh-day Adventist Church and why a mission to Britain was even contemplated or thought necessary.
As a general background this chapter first provides a survey of the religious situation in the United States of America during the first half of the nineteenth century which led to an interconfessional movement out of which Seventh-day Adventists emerged. Secondly, it provides an overview of the major theological and organizational factors which are basic to an understanding of the formation of the Seventh-day Adventist theology of mission.1
At the beginning of the nineteenth century American Christianity was predominantly Protestant, of a Puritan-Pietist-Evangelical nature, and this was much more pronounced than in Europe.2 With the adoption of the Constitution came an official separation of Church and State and the formulation of the principle of religious freedom which made church organizations more dependent on their own resources and a voluntary membership.3 The unpresidented geographical expansion created a period of powerful nationalistic spirit which influenced the development of the missionary movement. Generally, the move was toward the west, more so with the Louisiana Purchase which greatly expanded the nation's territory. Many Americans believed their Manifest Destiny to be "the conquest of the entire continent."4 It was "perhaps the most optimistic period" in United States history.5 National expansion was justified by the population, as preachers presented and members believed that it was to be the destiny of the newly formed Republic to lead the world into millenial glory.6
A protestant view of history, that rested on a papal apostacy and a Reformation renewal, was enhanced by the conviction, brought by British Protestant immigrants and literature, that the British Kingdoms contained a people chosen by God for an unusual work of advancing His plan for humanity. The view was modified and then applied to an American Israel with implications of special election, vocation, and guidance.7 In the main the emphasis was on a postmillenialism, a view that expected the perfecting of society resulting in the Second Advent of Jesus Christ at the end of the millenial age. The American achievement was seen as God's work, and American history became the purpose of Christ. The dawn of the millenium seemed imminent. If the American society was to be won to Christ the churches would need to develop a strong missionary program which would ultimately embrace the world.8 With the 1830's the "era of good feeling" gradually gave way to an "era of controversy."9 The millenial dream cooled with the 1837 financial depression. Revivalism had increased the individualism of the people. Non-conformity was both acceptable and desirable. The quest for truth became paramount. Consequently the period was one of much religious agitation, being rich in religious diversity, with new sects proliferating everywhere.10 Persons who believed in the divine ordering of history were motivated to study the prophecies of the Christian Bible to discover the meaning of what was happening. They rejected established churches and dogma, proclaiming their return to Bible-oriented, primitive Christianity, on the grounds that they had been divinely led in a rediscovery of early Christian truths and practices long lost in the confusion of the old world. Some of these groups rediscovered beliefs and practices later to be shared by Seventh-day Adventists and other newly established denominations.
In the main, such groups were drawn from the uneducated, lower socio-economic strata of Britain and Europe and were held together principally by one or two strong leaders, and by a firm belief in the divine intervention of God in the affairs of men. The seedbed for much of the change was New England, especially the state of New York. With many of these communities went a strong belief in the soon coming parousia of Jesus Christ.11
Many became convinced that the return of Jesus Christ and the consequent day of judgment was imminent and would usher in the millenium. Consequently such individuals strongly opposed the current, though weakening, postmillenial views.12
This religious movement began with a widespread interest in the question of the second advent of Jesus Christ, which had been developing spontaneously in both the Old World and the New in the early decades of the nineteenth century.13 It became strongest and most clearly defined, however, in the United States, at first under the leadership of William Miller (1782-1849) of Low Hampton, New York.14
When Miller began to preach about the proximate coming of Jesus Christ in 1831 it was not a strange message, for there was already some interest in the subject in the various churches.15 He used familiar language and appealed to the accepted authority of Scripture, and, in keeping with the spirit of the age, he gave high priority to reason in his study of the Bible.
Miller's inductive method of study made him confident that a clear and simple system of truth was evident in the Bible, and that scripture was indeed a revelation from God. He concluded that the Bible was in fact its own interpreter, that it should be understood literally, except where figurative language is being used, and that words ought to be understood in their ordinary, historical and grammatical sense. He applied a mathematical science to scriptural prophecy, so eliminating theory and speculation.16
Miller's study of prophecy led him to the conclusion that mankind was living in the last period of the earth's history, and that the literal second coming of Christ was about to take place. He began preaching his findings in local Methodist, Baptist and Congregational churches, with his local Baptist church, which he had joined in 1816, officially licensing him to preach in 1833. By 1839 his record book lists 800 lectures that he had personally given. These were almost exclusively of an apocalyptic-eschatological nature based on a belief concept of "the time of the end".17
Miller placed his greatest emphasis on the prophetic writings of the Old Testament prophet Daniel and that of Revelation in the New Testament. His approach to these different apocalyptic passages was based on the ideas held by a long tradition of historicist interpretation.18 Especially was he interested in the interpretation of the prophetic declaration of Dan. 8:14: "Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." Coming to the same conclusion that many Old and New World biblical scholars had already reached, that the symbolic "day" of Bible prophecy represents one year,19 he further concluded that the 2,300 "days/years" started concurrently with the seventy weeks/490 years of Dan.9:24-27, prophesying the birth and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, that is from 457 BC, the year of the command to rebuild and restore Jerusalem following their exile in Babylon. He believed that the longer of the two periods would end in or about the year 1843, as calculated by Jewish reckoning.20 Miller thought that the sanctuary mentioned in Dan.8:14 was the earth that would be cleansed by fire at the second Advent of Jesus Christ, and at first believed that this appearing and cleansing would occur sometime between 21 March 1843 and 21 March 1844.21 This became the center of Millerite missionary motivation. This basic formula was bolstered by a network of parallel prophetic calculations. Almost all the events of the last days were understood to occur at this time: the separation of the righteous from the wicked, the resurrection of the righteous dead, the destruction of the earth, the creation of the new heavens and new earth, and the commencement of the millenial age.22
By the year 1840 Miller's teachings had become widely accepted and the year marks the launching of the Millerite movement on a broad basis. The number accepting Miller's teachings steadily grew. From 1840 onward the Millerite movement was no longer a one man project but was led by a large and increasing group of men of various denominations.23 His teachings gained prominence in major cities when Joshua Vaughan Himes (1805-1895), a minister of the Christian Connection,24 and pastor of the Chardon Street Chapel in Boston, began taking an interest in Miller's message. Convinced that Miller's message was biblically sound, he believed that steps should be taken to carry it everywhere in the Union, even to the ends of the earth. So began an association that would change Millerism from a local curiosity into a movement with a mission that would receive the attention of the nation.25
The concept of world mission driving the Millerites was determined by their interpretation of Matt. 24:14, that "this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations" before the end would come. To this passage they linked that of Rev. 14:6 indicating that "the everlasting gospel" would go to all "that dwell on the earth," a scripture already identified among other Christians as the contemporary missionary movement.26
Millerism became a mass movement distributed across the Northeast and Midwest of the United States from Maine to Michigan and beyond. By the summer of 1843 they were working in the trans-Appalachian West, in the states of Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa. In the South, speaking invitations came from such cities as Charleston, Savannah and Mobile. Millerite literature was sent to Robert Winter an adventist preaching in the streets of London, England, with thousands there looking for the advent.27 Their publications also reached other parts of the world.
Himes' genius provided the promotional ideas. He began the Signs of the Times, the first newspaper designed to promote Millerite views, and stimulate discussion of the second advent. It became a weekly in the spring of 1842, and was but the first of many Millerite papers, as it became customary to launch a new paper in every area to which they took their message.28
Other promotional means included colorful prophetic charts as handouts at Millerite lectures.29 Thousands of tracts containing a synopsis of Miller's views were sent to newspaper and post offices across the country. Bundles were entrusted to sea captains with instructions to drop them off at every port of call. By 1843 tracts were available in French and German. In May 1844 Himes indicated that more than five million copies of advent newspapers and tracts had been distributed.30 By November 1843 Dr Josiah Litch (1809-1886) an able Methodist Episcopal preacher of New England, and an adventist author, stated that the "everlasting glad tidings" had been preached to the world "for a witness to all nations," inferring that now the end can come. In so far as opportunity had offered, "publications have been sent to every English and American mission in the world."31
Up until 1842 there had been no definite time setting, but as 1843 approached more emphasis was placed on a specific date. By the beginning of 1844 it was realized that the 2,300 years commencing in 457 BC would end in 1844. The cleansing of the sanctuary now being coupled with the Day of Atonement, the day of the annual cleansing of the Temple in the ancient Hebrew year.32 The Day of Atonement was seen as a prototype of the cleansing of the earth at the second coming of Christ. This day, it was calculated, would fall on 22 October 1844.33
Most Adventists welcomed the certainty of this calculation and saw in the date change the delay of the bridegroom, and in the message the "Midnight Cry," a last minute chance to prepare for the advent. The Midnight Cry was viewed as a division between the foolish and wise virgins culminating with the "door was shut" pronouncement of the Matt.25 prophetic parable.34 These signified to Miller the "closing up of the mediatorial kingdom and finishing the gospel period."35 As the 1843 time came close the passage of Rev. 14:7, "the hour of his judgement is come," took its place in the Millerite missionary thrust.
On 22 October 1844 perhaps as many as one hundred thousand waited in calm expectation for Jesus Christ to appear in the clouds of heaven.36 But the great day passed, the expectation failed to materialize, and they were forced to admit the fact that something was wrong. They were devastated by the delay of the parousia, and their unfulfilled hope. Subsequently the non-event became a disappointment the Millerite adventists long remembered:
Our fondest hopes and expectations were blasted, and such a spirit of weeping came over us as I never experienced before. It seemed that the loss of all earthly friends could have been no comparison. We wept, and wept, till the day dawn.37
The Advent movement was at first an interchurch development. It was a movement within existing churches, and in the days of its beginning there was no intention or attempt to organize a separate denomination.38
In its early stages the Adventist movement was anti-separatist, and followers were encouraged to remain in their churches. Consequently, in the main these followers remained loyal to their established denominational beliefs and to their churches, certainly up until the year 1844. However, excitement ran higher as the message was preached and the movement became more volatile, overrunning many of its more moderate leaders. Some churches responded by disfellowshiping some of their members, and some churches expelled ministers. Now, in place of the earlier anti-separatist stance, there arose a movement in the name of the angel of Rev. 18:1-4 to "come out" of the churches for they had "fallen" and were refusing to prepare for the coming of the Lord:
If you are a Christian, come out of Babylon. If you intend to be found a Christian when Christ appears, come out of Babylon, and come out now. (italics in original).39
It was difficult for faith to survive in such a maelstrom of confusion, doubt, disappointment, and humiliation, and for many it did not. By April 1845 Adventists who had been united during the Millerite movement now become divided over the relevance of the movement's interpretations. Vast numbers returned to their former churches, or abandoned the Christian faith altogether. The leaders of the movement believed there might be an error in the computation of the 2,300 days/years prophecy, and the majority response of those who still affirmed the movement was to continue expectantly awaiting the Advent, that the prophecy of Dan.8 would end sometime in the future.40
However, for many the prevailing anti-Millerite sentiment presented them with no church to which they could in comfort return. In the end advent congregations began to think their way through the possibility of creating a distinct organization, and the Advent Christian Church eventually arose out of this stranded group, becoming the largest non-sabbatarian group of Adventists.41 Others fragmented into smaller segments.42
The post 1844 Adventist theological development until 1874 is of great importance, for during it the distinct and basic characteristics of Seventh-day Adventists were formulated. This understanding of the theology and scripture bases, however brief, helps in understanding the significance of its missionary nature.
The Sabbatarian Adventists arose out of an amalgam of at least two of the smaller segments of Adventists and grew into the largest of the Adventist denominations. However, the group was comprised of a broad spectrum of evangelical Protestants, among whom Methodists and Christianites seem to have exerted a dominant influence. Reaffirmation of the basic validity of the second advent message seems to have provided the positive incentive to remain separate from the churches and the greater body of Millerites. These smaller groups continued to search the Scriptures for explanations which eventually led to the developing of a belief structure, and a purpose of mission. Several developments contributed to the coalescence of this group of disheartened Millerites into a committed group.
Belief in the Divine Origin of the Millerite Movement
The first was a reaffirmation of the divine origin of the Millerite Advent Movement as an important phase in salvation history. There was also a sense of distinctiveness inherited from the Millerites which was redefined in the process of establishing corporate and doctrinal identity, and this was further reinforced as the members came to identify in their studies with the "remnant" of Rev. 12:17, and felt called to proclaim the messages of the three angels of Rev. 14:6-12. in connection with the second advent belief. The object of these missionary efforts centered on the belief that "The hand of the Lord is set to recover the remnant of his people."43
Immediately after October 1844 a group of Millerites in western New York began giving attention to the reasons for the disappointment. These adventists came to believe that a significant event had indeed occured in 1844, but that they had been mistaken in the nature of the event. One of their number described this conviction and its consequences:
We were firm in our belief that the preaching of definite time was of God. It was this that led men to search the Bible diligently, discovering truths they had not before perceived.44
With this belief, however, came a recognition that there would be an elongation of the time-table of the awaited parousia, and a most decided pronouncement against any time setting for this event, although hoping that it would be soon.
The Sanctuary Doctrine
They came to believe that the event corresponded not with the second advent, but with a change in Christ's ministry in heaven. Christ did not come out of the holy place to return to earth, but entered into the second apartment of the heavenly sanctuary for the first time to perform a special work there. Christ had, at his ascension, taken upon Himself the office of priest to mediate the benefits of His atoning sacrifice, to forgive sins, to provide direct access to God, and to guide the church. However, in their continued study of the Hebrew sanctuary services, and comparison of the earthly type with the heavenly antitype, they were led to the conviction that instead of leaving heaven to come to earth Christ had in fact begun a second phase of ministry, added to those previously performed. In 1844 he commenced an examination, as the Great High Priest, of the records of all those who had been professed followers of God. This ministry would be typical of that done by the High Priest on the Day of Atonement. Hence, on 22 October 1844, Jesus Christ actually began a work of cleansing by judgement. By the close of this judgement, or "investigation," the company of justified of all ages will be known. This will prepare the way for the return of Jesus Christ in a second advent and the call of the saints into the presence of God.45 This "indefinite" period of judgment cleansing would become a focal belief in the new denomination's purpose of mission.
At first these views received little coverage, but gradually became exposed to a broad range of Adventists.46 It has been said that the Seventh-day Adventist Church, as a distinct religious body, began at the moment this new interpretation was given to the Daniel prophecy of the 2,300 years.47 Certainly the belief became the most distinctive teaching of the new denomination.48
Intimately related to these changes in Christ's high priestly ministry which began in 1844 was the belief in a specific proclaimation to the whole world.
Theology of The Three Angels' Messages
As Adventists looked toward the Most Holy Place, the theology of what they termed The Three Angels' Messages of Revelation 14:6-12 began to form. These messages, represented as being proclaimed by three heaven sent messengers flying in the midst of heaven, constitute God's appeal to the world to accept salvation in Jesus Christ and prepare for judgement on sin at his imminent advent, all of which is pictured symbolically.
The Millerites had earlier regarded themselves as giving the message of the first angel of Rev. 14:6,7:
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.
Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
Their good news was of a coming Christ who would cleanse the earth. Many of these early Adventists also believed that some had declared the second angel's message of Rev. 14:8 when the call went out to leave the churches.
And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
Using Revelation chapters 17 and 18 they linked the fall of mystical Babylon with the arrival of God's judgement. These Adventists interpreted Rev. 14:8 basically the same as in 1844, although over the following years there were further specifications of the characteristics of Babylon, linked with the need to return to Bible based doctrines of belief. Such contributed significantly to an understanding of the reason for the body and its mission. These understandings had considerable impact on the Seventh-day Adventist self image.49 As the Adventist teachings developed they began to see themselves as proclaiming the message of the third angel of Rev. 14:9-11:
And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
This message was also to include the messages of the first and second angels. These messages, understood, were to be proclaimed to "every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people."(Matt. 24:14) They constituted God's last invitation to all men to accept the everlasting gospel of God's salvation and the call to return to obedience to all the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus Christ, before the pronouncement of final judgement is passed on mankind and the Advent takes place. For them the Scriptural passage of Rev. 14:6-12 had special meaning when their attention became centered on the words, "the hour of his judgment is come."
The Three Angels' Messages with its focus on the third angel became central in the new church's mission proclamation to prepare mankind for the judgement and the second advent of Jesus Christ. Together with the new theology of the sanctuary an acceptance of the seventh day Sabbath was but the next step. Its relevance focused the attention of believers on the central role of the decalogue in Christ's high priestly ministry.50
The Seventh Day Sabbath
The emergence of the Sabbath doctrine was described as being the result of the proclamation of Rev. 14:8.51 Soon Rev. 14:12 was linked more emphatically with the message of the third angel:
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
Consequently the group began to focus on the interrelationship of the Law and the Gospel and, more specifically, on the restoration of the fourth Commandment of Ex. 20:8-11, which became a significant part of their developing belief system. Even here the Sabbatarian Adventists maintained their link with Millerism by associating the Sabbath with the need for a restoration of all biblical principles before the Advent could take place.
The question of Sabbath observance had been raised by Millerites at an early period and continued to be discussed into 1845 by such Millerites as Thomas M. Preble, a traveling companion of Miller.52
As early as 1844, and before the disappointment, a small group of Adventists near Washington, New Hampshire, had begun to observe the Sabbath on the seventh day as a result of contact with a Seventh Day Baptist, and had continued to formulate their own doctrine of the Sabbath.53
Joseph Bates (1792-1872),54 another Millerite, and considered one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, gave the question wide publicity in 1846, creating great interest. Bates had heard of the Sabbath teaching and visited with the Washington sabbath-keeping church, and deeply convinced, and after much personal study, produced in 1846 a forty-eight page tract, The Seventh Day Sabbath, a Perpetual Sign.55
With Bates in the formulating of the doctrines of the sanctury and the Sabbath was James Springer White (1821-1881)56 a Millerite preacher from Portland, Maine, and also to become one of the formost leading figures in the structuring of the future, new Seventh-day Adventist denomination.
The Prophetic Gift
Another facilitating event in the bringing together of these diverse Millerites was the acceptance of prophetic guidance in the ministry of Ellen Gould Harmon White (1827-1915).57 She like her husband to be, was a young Millerite Adventist from Portland, Maine.
The idea of prophetic guidance was not strange to the Millerites. They lived close to the Scriptures, and sought to derive their models of belief and behavior from the early church. They believed they had seen the hand of God in recent historical events, and were open to what was understood as progressive unfolding of truth. They came to recognise the scriptural prophetic gift in Harmon.58 Identifying themselves with the "remnant" of Rev. 12:17, they recognized that such "have the testimony of Jesus Christ", and understood the phrase to mean the "spirit of prophecy," on the basis of Rev. 19:10.
It was Harmon who affirmed the divine origin of the Millerites and the reason for the delay in the awaited Parousia through a vision received in late 1844, and subsequently instructed to communicate the content to the Adventist group. She saw her fellow Adventist believers on a "straight and narrow path" with the light of the "midnight cry" behind them. She saw some Adventists become discouraged at the length of the way, and some "denied the light behind them" and stumbled and fell off the path. She saw the Second Advent at the end of the path and the triumphal entry of the saints into heaven. Later Harmon received a vision concerning the sanctuary work of Christ, confirming the results of adventist study.59
These revelations seem to have given the members both the incentive and the sense of time necessary for the formation of their message, organization, and mission.
Just prior to their marriage James White and Harmon "began to observe the Bible Sabbath, and to teach and defend it."60 Just seven months later, on the 3 April 1847, Harmon, now White,61 saw in another vision the law of God in the ark of the heavenly sanctuary with a halo of light around the fourth commandment and saw that "the holy Sabbath is, and will be, the separating wall between the true Israel of God and unbelievers."62 This helped to confirm these Adventists in their theological discoveries.
The process by which the scattered Millerites were drawn together, and a consensus of belief opinion was achieved, centered on a series of conferences conducted in New England and New York. These were promoted by Bates and James White, and primarily conducted for those interested in the Sabbath, and for the purpose of bringing unity on the great truths connected with the message of the third angel.
These Bible conferences discussed the beliefs of the Millerites, and particularly the subjects of the sanctuary and the Sabbath. Many felt the need to come together in this way, as they had done in their Millerite days, and confirm the faith, hammer out more complete details of last day prophecy, and correct errors in their religious beliefs. Six such conferences were held during 1848, six were held the following year, and ten during 1850, all in New England.63
Although Bates was very persuasive on the Sabbath teaching,64 there was often wide diversity of opinion on other interpretations of scripture. Eventually they were encouraged by White to lay aside minor matters and unite on basic truths.65
These conferences brought general agreement among the sabbatarian Adventists on distinct prophetic and doctrinal beliefs, as well as those held basic by other Christian denominations. Many details regarding these doctrines would need refinement over the next few years, but the basic concepts were generally agreed on by 1850.
The Millerite papers that appeared following the advent disappointment were natural means for reaching Adventists, but Miller and editors discounted, and were reluctant to accept, "new light" articles.66 However, at the sixth 1848 conference White had a vision in which she saw that her husband should publish a paper that would set forth the beliefs of this widely scattered group of Sabbathkeeping Adventists,67 and in July 1849 James White began publishing The Present Truth, an eight-page journal, a first for sabbatarian Adventists, placing emphasis on the seventh-day Sabbath but also including an ardent defence of their view of the sanctuary cleansing. In 1850 White published The Advent Review, reprinting and reviewing certain views advocated by the Millerite Advent movement. Both papers were somewhat sporadic due to the itinerent movements of the Whites from one interest group to another, and consequently at a conference of leaders in November 1850 it was decided to replace both papers with The Second Advent Review and Sabbath Herald.68 John Nevins Andrews (1829-1883) at twenty-one years of age was appointed to assist James White and became one of the new church's leading writers and its first official overseas missionary to Europe.69
In March 1852 another conference of leaders made the decision to set up a printing and publishing business in Rochester, New York, with believers donating from their means. The following year James White began publishing a second paper, The Youth's Instructor, a 24 page paper for readers aged 16 through 30.70
It would be difficult to over estimate the role played by the Review in bringing doctrinal unity and cohesion to this slowly expanding, yet scattered group of Adventists. The years in Rochester were years of expansion and progress.
Bates appears to have been on the road most of these early years, journeying further from home than did the Whites or any other of the leaders. He worked Vermont and Massachusetts, pioneering into the Ontario area of Canada, and into Michigan and Indiana. He seems to have taken the paths of Millerites prior to October 1844. Like other sabbatarian Adventists he found it convenient to introduce the Review, take a subscription and pass on, allowing the paper to be the preacher.
As interests developed outside the New England states and as the Whites made trips into Michigan during 1852-1855 they became impressed with the vigor and generosity of some of the new believers in that state. When in 1855 the invitation came to move their publishing work to Battle Creek they accepted believing it to be a more suitable location from which to serve the ever growing interests in Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa. In the autumn of 1855, after several conferences between representatives from various states, the group's committment to publishing was formalized. In December the first issue of Review was issued from Battle Creek, Michigan. By 1857 James White was campaigning to purchase a steam-powered press to handle the increase in business.71
During the later years of the Millerite movement preceeding October 1844, strong feelings were expressed warning those who felt the need to separate from their old churches not to manufacture a new church.72 This controversy was carried over into the ranks of sabbatarian Adventists but their leaders began to realize the need for an administrative system that would maintain unity of belief and mission. During the 1850s several problems arose indicating the need for a name and a corporate existence.
As early as 1851 James White had to deal with the matters of "gospel order, and perfect union," and write on, and deal with, such subjects which were the normal concern of established chuches and denominations.73 With the growth in believers and meeting groups James White and the other leaders personally had to deal with such problems as the recognition and control of a small but growing ministry, with concern for its quality and financial support.74 There were also the problems presented by fanaticism and offshoot movements who tended to operate in the name of the larger body of believers.75
By the close of 1853 James White found Adventists generally to be "in a more perfect Babylon than ever before," and the cause "torn limb from limb" with "members moving in perfect discord, arranged against each other." If Sabbatarian Adventists were to survive they would need some organisation.76 Finally Bates made a call for gospel order with the suggestion that apostolic church order and unity had been "deranged" and should be restored by the church of the last days.77
During 1855 individual congregations began providing themselves with church buildings, which raised the problem of ownership at a time when a group without corporation could not own property,78 but it was eventually ownership of the publishing house in Battle Creek, Michigan, which forced action on the legal organization of a new denomination.79
A general gathering with representatives from five states met for four days in September and October 1860 and conducted a full-scale discussion of organization.80 A legal constitution was drawn up and names discussed.81 The name "Seventh-day Adventist" was chosen, "a simple name and one expressive of our faith and position."82 During April 1861, in the opening days of the Civil War, a committee of nine representatives met at Battle Creek and consequently wrote an article for the Review on the matter of church, district, and State level organization, and proposed a "general conference" that would speak on behalf of all believers and churches.83 Consequently the publishing house was incorporated under the name of "Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association" on 13 May 1861.
A conference of Michigan believers met 4-6 October 1861 and recommended to the churches in the State of Michigan that they unite "as a church, taking the name Seventh-day Adventists, covenanting to keep the commandments of God,and the faith of Jesus."84 This example led to like organization of six other conferences within a year.85
During the Michigan conference of 20-23 May 1863 elected delegates from six State conferences voted to accept a constitution for a proposed General Conference organization to "secure unity and efficiency in labor," and the executive committee was commissioned to foster missionary work and to authorize general calls for funds.86
The new denomination estimated that at this time it had a membership of 3,500, scattered all across the northern United States, worshiping in 125 churches in 6 conferences and with 22 ordained and eight licensed ministers to care for them.87
The form of church government that naturally grew prior to 1863, and developed in the years following organization, bore the imprint of those denominations out of which the leaders had come, but based on restudy of the New Testament Christian Church and teaching. The emphasis was placed on local church authority, which was particularly Congregational. Government by elected representatives was in the main Presbyterian in nature. The conference organizational units and ministerial control was very kin to Methodism.
The Seventh-day Adventist corpus of belief was, and is, in the main, a set of biblically endorsed principles of belief.88 In this respect it was and is consistent with its Millerite origins and the anticreedal stance of the Christianite members of the founding leaders. Although they agreed on a basic doctrine that would become the foundation of their faith, they also recognized that a continuing study of scripture could lead to a more complete understanding of these "truths." Because of this they strongly resisted the formulation of a comprehensive doctrinal creed.89
No doctrinal statement was issued at the time of the official organization in 1863, and certainly no creed was adopted. The denomination appears to have taken the position that the Bible would be its only creed, and it would be more than a decade before Seventh-day Adventists did publish a statement of fundamental "principles." Yet when they did, in 1872, it was not to "secure uniformity," but rather to meet the inquiries of others, "to correct false statements," and "remove erroneous impressions."90 These "principles" are worthy of examination for they form the basis of belief for the Church's mission advance, both within the United States and overseas.91 In this summary of religious faith there appears to have been "entire unanimity throughout the body" by the time the Church sent out its first overseas missionary in 1874, and commenced a mission in Britain in 1879.
Apart from some early deviant beliefs these early Seventh-day Adventists held orthodox views of what have been considered the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith. As then, the church today sees itself as orthodox in its salvation beliefs. The basic doctrines relating to the fall, sin, and salvation are strictly evangelical Arminianism. Universal atonement is affirmed. Determinism is rejected. Without the subtlety of Wesleyan prevenient grace, a degree of free will is endorsed. Certainly the balance is maintained between divine sovreignty and human effort. In such a balance it endeavors to safeguard the divine initiative in salvation without undercutting human responsibility. As for Christology, the theological emphasis is placed on the divine Christ, in whom was life underived, and who could therefore make atonement for human sin. In practical piety there is a tendency to emphasize the human Christ, the perfect example and compassionate Saviour, and in this Adventists are more in line with American Arminianism than with the Wesleyan doctrine.92
However, in addition to a broad base Arminianism there are those beliefs that might be designated as distinctly Seventh-day Adventist. This cluster of doctrines are mutually supportive, and from these emerge the complex ideas and beliefs that mark the denomination off from the wider evangelical movement, but giving the church its reason for existence and mission. Such beliefs include: conditional immortality, with belief in "soul sleep," and the rejection of an ever burning hell, seventh-day Sabbatarianism, a premillennial historicist eschatology that emphasizes the second Advent, acceptance of the gift of prophecy in the ministry of Ellen White, and the teachings about the priestly work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary.93 Alongside these definitive beliefs came a conviction as duty to proclaim the message of the three angels of Rev. 14:6-12 as the everlasting gospel to the whole world before the Second Advent of Jesus Christ.
These principles of belief coalesce into a distinctive eschatological theme that lies as the foundation of the Seventh-day Adventist movement. Here Seventh-day Adventist identity and mission coincide.
1The best work on the motivational forces behind the establishment of Seventh-day Adventist mission is P. Gerard Damsteegt, Foundations of the Seventh-day Adventist Message and Mission, (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdman Pub. Co., 1977; Berrien Springs, Mich: Andrews University Press, 1988). Hereafter SDAMM.
2Kenneth S. Latourette, Christianity in a Revolutionary Age: A History in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Vol.3: The Nineteenth Century Outside Europe: The Americas, the Pacific, Asia, and Africa. (New York; Harper, 1961), 4. Hereafter CRA.
3Latourette, CRA, 3:9; see also e.g. Robert T. Handy, Christian America: Protestant Hopes and Historical Realities, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971.), pp.3,30. Hereafter CA.
4Clifton E. Olmstead, History of Religion in the United States, (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1960.), p.264. Hereafter HRUS.
6Handy, CA, pp.33,34.
7Ernest L. Tuveson, Redeemer Nation: The Idea of America's Millennial Role, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968), pp.137-175; Earnest R. Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism: British and American Millenarianism 1800-1930, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970), p.43. Hereafter RF.
8Olmstead, HRUS, pp.265,348,349,356; Latourette, CRA, 3:16-83.
9Damsteegt, SDAMM, pp.11,12.
10The best single volume giving the variety of American religious and humanitarian reforms of the early nineteenth century is that of A. F. Tylor, Freedoms Ferment, (Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1962).
11Olmstead, HRUS, pp.334-346; Sandeen, RF, pp.47-54; Whitney R. Cross, The Burned Over District: The Social and Intellectual History of Enthusiastic Religion in Western New York, 1800-1850, (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1950; New York, Harper and Row, 1965); See Earnest Sandeen's Essay on millenialism in E. Gausted, ed., The Rise of Adventism. (New York: Harper and Row, 1975), pp.42-58.
12Leroy E. Froom, Prophetic Faith of our Fathers, 4 vols. (Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn. 1950-54) 4:chapters 15,16,18,19. Hereafter PFF.
13See Froom, PFF, 4:443-454 for a preview of the Advent Movement.
14For basic biographies of Miller see Sylvester Bliss, Memoirs of William Miller: Generally Known as a Lecturer on the Prophecies, and the Second Coming of Christ, (Boston: Joshua Himes, 1853); Robert Gale, The Urgent Voice, (Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1975.) Hereafter TUV. Francis David Nichol, The Midnight Cry, (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1944.) Hereafter MC. Everall N. Dick, "William Miller and the Advent Crisis, 1831-1844" (Ph.D diss., University of Wisconsin, 1933.) Hereafter WMAC. SDAE, art. "William Miller."
15Sandeen, RF, pp.49,57,58.
16Nathan O. Hatch, "Millenialism and Popular Religion in the Early Republic," in The Evangelical Tradition in America, ed. Leonard I. Sweet, (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 1984,) p.119; Gale, TUV, pp.28-33; Nichol, MC, pp.27-34.
17Gale, TUV, pp.42-46; Charles Weniger, "Critical Analysis and Appraisal of the Public Address of William Miller, Early Second Advent Lecturer," (Ph.D. diss., University of Southern California, 1948), pp.157-177,232; Damsteegt, SDAMM, pp.20,21.
19See Num. 14:34; Ezk. 4:6; Nichol, MC, p.33.
20Most contemporary American and European historicists believed the period began somewhere between 457 and 453 BC and would end between 1843 and 1847 with a variety of ideas put forward as to what would transpire at the end date. See Froom, PFF, 4:301-329,397,404; Sandeen, RF, p.52.
21Gale, TUV, pp.33-35; Nichol, MC, pp.34,35. Miller and Millerites sometimes made reference to the sanctuary as representing the church, although generally speaking they thought it to be more representative of the earth than of the church alone.
22Although the predominant doctrine of the time was a postmillenial reign of peace, which was to be brought about, in part at least, by human agency, it was becoming increasingly more difficult to argue the case for the inauguration of a perfect society. Miller, therefore, was able to undergird his case for premillenialism by appealing to the state of society.
23See SDAE, art. "Millerite Movement".
24The Christian Connection Church was a loosely embodied federation of churches who had splintered from the Baptists in New York and New Hampshire in the early nineteenth century over the issue of clerical authority, forming the Christian Connection in 1836. They tended to be anti-formalist, anti-Calvinist, anti-creedal, anti-trinitarian, and revivalist. Several Christianites became prominent Millerite leaders, and several became Seventh-day Adventists. Many congregations eventually became part of the Congregational Christian Church and the United Church of Christ.
25Himes at the age of 34, was already widely known in New England as an ardent crusader against slavery, liquor, and war. See David Tallmadge Arthur, "Joshua Himes and the Cause of Adventism, 1839-1845," (M.A. diss., University of Chicago, 1961), pp.10-18. Hereafter "JHCA." This is presently the best biography of Himes. See also Gale, TUV, pp.61-64; Dick, "WMAC," pp.15,90-94; SDAE, art., "Himes, Joshua Vaughn."; Nichol, MC, pp.71,78,174-176,479 480.
26Froom, PFF, 3:370-72,412,438,613; 4:89,91,92,139,192, 197,201,259,358,1091.
27Dick, "WMAC," pp.126-141,186-210; Nichol, MC, pp.134,155,156.
28Arthur, "JHCA," pp.21-89; Dick, "WMAC,"pp.95-113.
29Nichol, MC, pp 102-201 passim.
30Arthur, "JHCA," pp.59,103; Froom, PFF, 4:733-735; Dick, "WMAC," pp.99-114.
31Signs of the Times, 15 November 1843, p.109. This Millerite publication is quoted in Nichol, MC, p.156.
32Lev. 16. This was, and still is, a solemn day in the economy of Israel, and known by all Jews as Yom Kippur, a day of judgment.
33Froom, PFF, 4:803-813; Dick, TUV, p.225. It would seem that Miller saw a link between the Advent and the Day of Atonement as early as 7 May 1843 although the teaching came from Samuel Snow (1806-1870), an advent lecturer since 1842. See Froom, PFF, 4:795; James White, Sketches of the Christian Life and Labours of William Miller. (Battle Creek , Mich.: Steam Press of the Seventh-day Adventist. Pub. Assn., 1875), p.247.
34The reference is to Jesus Christ's parable, and the cry heard at midnight, "behold the bridegroom cometh," and to the wise and foolish virgins of Mat.25:1-13. The Millerites regarded this scripture as a prophetic parable.
35William Miller, Evidences from Scripture and History of the Second Coming of Christ About the Year 1843, Exhibited in a Course of Lectures, (Boston: J.V.Himes, 1842). p.97.
36Just how many Millerites there were is difficult to know. Miller himself estimated there were 50,000. See Nichol, MC, p.204, quoting Miller, Apology and Defense, p.22; Dick considers this figure too low, "WMAC," pp.267-269. Froom estimates the larger figure of 100,000, PFF, 4:638. It seems likely that during the three years of adventist summer campmeetings, 1842-1844, as many as half a million persons attended. See Froom, PFF, 4:642-655; Dick, "WMAC," pp.71-74. Uriah Smith, Editor of RH believed that there were "thousands upon thousands." "The Seventh-day Adventists," RH, 3 November 1874, p.148.
37Hiram Edson, Manuscript fragment, Heritage Room, A Seventh-day Adventist Archive, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan.
38Of the 174 Millerite preachers with identifiable religious affiliation 44 percent were Methodist, 27 percent Baptist, 9 percent Congregational, 8 percent Christianite, and 7 percent Presbyterian, with smaller numbers of Dutch Reformed, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and Quakers. See Dick, "WMAC," p.268.
39Charles Fitch, "Come Out of Her My People," The Second Advent of Christ, 26 July 1843, p.2, quoted in Nichol, Midnight Cry, p.148.
40Nichol, MC, p.272, quoting the Millerite journal The Advent Herald, 15 January 1845, p.183.
41For an authoritative record of the Adventist Christians see Albert C. Johnson, Advent Christian History: A Concise Narrative of the Origin and Progress, Doctrine and Work of this Body of Believers, (Mendota, Illinois: Western Advent Christian Pub. Soc., 1918).
42David T. Arthur, "Come Out of Babylon. A Study of Millerite Separation and Denominationalism, 1840-1865." (Ph.D diss., University of Rochester, 1970), pp.48-76. Hereafter "COB." Isaac C. Wellcome, History of the Second Advent Message, (Yarmouth: 1874), p.288; Dick, "WMAC," p.133; Froom, PFF, 4:543,544,722,773; Nichol, MC pp.166-170,454,456.
43Ellen G. White, Early Writings of Ellen G. White, (Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1882, 1945) p.70. Hereafter EW.
44Ellen. G. White, Life Sketches of Ellen G.White. (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1915), p.62. Hereafter LS. It should be noted that White is the author of this work only to chapter 41 and that from chapter 42, on page 255, her life story is continued by C. C. Crisler.
45SDAE, art."Investigative Judgment"; James Nix, "The Life and Works of Hiram Edson," unpublished manuscript, Heritage Room, a Seventh-day Adventist Archive, Andrews University, 1971, pp.29,122; For Edson's own account of his revelation see Edson manuscript.
46R. Haddock, "History of the Doctrine of the Sanctuary in the Adventist Movement, 1800-1905," (B.D. thesis, Andrews University, Michigan, 1970), pp.111-113; Nichol, MC, pp.454-469.
47Nichol, MC, p.457.
48This teaching has evoked a great deal of attention within and without the denomination. For further study, see Froom, PFF, 4:.881,877, describing the genius of the teaching. For further details, see Edward Heppenstall, Our High Priest (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1972), and, Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine, (Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1957), pp.341-445.
49Damsteegt, SDAMM, p.179.
50Damsteegt, SDAMM, p.146.
51James White, The Third Angel's Message, (Oswego N.Y.: By the Author, 1850.), p.12.
52Thomas Preble, Tract, "Showing that the Seventh Day Should Be Observed as the Sabbath, Instead of the First Day; According to the Commandment," 1845. The tract was first published in Hope of Israel, 28 February 1845, and quoting Miller as saying that the Sabbath was "to be a sign forever, and a perpetual covenant," and that "beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it is binding upon the Christian Church as upon the Jewish, and in the same manner, and for the same reasons," p.31, quoted by RH, 23 August 1870, p.73; The question had often been discussed in The Midnight Cry, especially during September 1844. The editor had expressed an opinion that "there is no particular portion of time which Christians are required by law to set apart as holy time," but he observed that if after careful study an individual decided there was, then that "particular portion of time which God requires us to observe as holy, is the seventh day of the week, that is, Saturday." Quoted in Froom, PFF 4: 944.
53Froom, PFF, 4:945-947. Washington, New Hampshire is regarded as the first place where seventh day Sabbath keeping was practiced by Adventists. Their teaching was not welcomed by Sunday-keeping denominations nor encouraged at the time by most Adventists. See Arthur, "COB," p.134.
54Bates was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts and at the age of 15 began a career at sea. By 1820 he was captain of his own merchant vessel. Before his conversion to Christianity he had been impressed into the British Navy, and following the outbreak of war between America and Britain in 1812 he was made a prisoner of war for a period of thirty months, eight of these he served in the infamous Dartmoor prison, Devonshire, England. See C. C. Crisler, ed., Life of Joseph Bates, An Autobiography, (Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1927); Godfrey T. Anderson, Outrider of the Apocalypse: Life and Time of Joseph Bates, (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1919, 1972); Everett N. Dick, Founders of the Message, (Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1938), pp.105-151. Hereafter FM. SDAE, art., "Bates, Joseph"; Nichol, MC, pp.180-185.
55Bedford, Mass.: By the Author, 1846.
56White was born of New England pioneering stock, a descendent of a British Mayflower pilgrim. His mother was the granddaughter of Dr Samuel Shepherd, an eminent Baptist minister in New England. At 15 years old White was baptised into the Christian Connection denomination. On hearing of the Adventist message from his mother, and after listening to lectures by Miller and Himes in September 1843, he resigned from his school teaching and taking Bible and charts he ventured forth to preach. See SDAE, art. "White, James Springer," for a general biographical sketch.
57Harmon was of British, New England stock. Together with her family she had been dismissed from her local Methodist Church because of adventist views. See SDAE, art."White, Ellen Gould (Harmon)," for a general biographical sketch.
58See Joel 2:28,29 cf; Acts 2:14-21; Rom. 12:6; I Cor. 12:10;14:1-6; I Thess. 5:20. For a defence of the prophetic gift in White see Frances David Nichol, Ellen G. White and Her Critics, (Washington D.C.:Review and Herald Pub. Assn.,1951): T. Housel Jemison, A Prophet Among You, (Mountain View Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn.,1955). For her role in the Seventh-day Adventist Church see: Roy E. Graham, "Ellen G.White: An Examination of Her Position and Role in the Seventh-day Adventist Church," (PhD thesis, University of Birmingham, England, 1977.); Lewis Harrison Christian, The Fruitage of Spiritual Gifts, (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1947).
59White, EW, pp.13-20; also LS, pp.64-72; Testimonies to the Church, 9 vols. (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1947), 1:58-61. Hereafter TC.
61From this point on "White" will always refer to Ellen G. White, and all other family members will be given their Christian names.
62White, EW, pp.32-35.
63These conferences were usually refered to as "1848 Conferences" because of the year of their commencment, or as "Sabbath Conferences" because they were organized by and conducted by the sabbatarian Adventists. See: SDAE, art., "Sabbath Conferences."
64Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts, 4 Vols. (Battle Creek, Mich.: James White, 1858-1864), 2:93. Hereafter SG.
65White, LS, pp.108-111; see also Froom, PFF, 4:1022-1023.
66Nichols, MC, p.283.
67White, LS, pp.105-107,125; Everett N.Dick, FM, pp.216,217.
68SDAE, art., "Review and Herald;" Dick, FM, pp.173,174. The next issue dropped the word "Second" and the journal has remained one of the oldest, continuously published religious journals in America. The size of the journal was 10 by 14 inches, with an average number of pages each weekly issue of 24. It remained this size until 1953. The name was contracted to Review and Herald in 1961, and is presently published under the title of Adventist Review.
69Andrews had considered law and politics as a career, but the logic of the Sabbath captured his attention and he became a sabbatarian Adventist. He was later to write the first book-length defense of the Sabbath, containing an historical survey of its history under the title of History of the Sabbath and the First Day of the Week, in 1861. Hereafter HOTS. The best work on the life of Andrews is found in Harry Leonard, ed., J. N. Andrews: The Man and the Mission, (Berrien Springs, Michigan, Andrews University Press, 1985). Hereafter AMM. See also SDAE art., "Andrews, John Nevins;" also Gordon Balharrie, "A Study of the Contributions Made to the Seventh-day Adventist Movement by John Nevins Andrews," (M. A. thesis, Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, 1949); Dick, FM, p.300; Froom, PFF, 4:961,962.
70James White, "A Paper for Children," RH, 8 July 1852, p.37; Nelson Z. Town, et al, The Publishing Department Story, (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1927), p.28; see SDAE, art., "Youth's Instructor, The."
71SDAE, art., "Publishing Department;" John N. Loughborough, Rise and Progress of the Seventh-day Adventists, (Battle Creek, Mich.; General Conference Assn. of the Seventh-day Adventists, 1892) pp.166-176. Hereafter RP.
72David Tallmadge Arthur, "COB," pp.48-76; I. Welcome, HSAM, p.288; Dick, FM, p.133; Froom, PFF, 4:543,544,722,773.
73James White, "Letter," RH, 19 August 1851, p.15; "On Tour East," 25 November 1851, p.52; H. S. Gurney to James White, 27 December 1853, p.199; M. E. Cornell to James White, 24 January 1854, p.7.
74James White, "Gospel Order," RH, 20 December 1853, pp.189-190; 27 December 1853, p.196; Loughborough, RP, p.208.
75SDAE, art., "Apostate Movements."
76James White, "Gospel Order," RH, 6 December 1853, p.173.
77"Church Order," RH, 29 August 1854, pp.22,23.
78In 1860 the Parksville, Michigan congregation officially organized itself into a church body, in order "that they might hold property in a lawful manner." They took the name "Parksville Church of Christ's Second Advent...for the present." See Loughborough, "Meeting at Parksville, Mich.," RH, 29 May 1860, p.9.
79Under the control of the leaders of the sabbatarian Adventists it was owned by James White who wanted to place it legally with the movement, and so avoid any critism of himself. James White, "Borrowed Money," RH, 23 February 1860, p.100; RFC to U. Smith, "Making Us a Name," 22 March 1860, p.140; James White, "Making Us a Name," 5 April 1860, p.152, (Misprinted date should read 29 March); "What Shall be Done?," 10 May 1860, p.200; 21 August 1860, p.108.
80James White, "Battle Creek Conference," RH, 2 October 1860, p.156; "Tent Meetings in Minn.," 9 October 1860, p.161; "Business Meetings of the G. C. Conference," 16 October 1860, pp.169-171.
81The proceedings of the conference are reported in the RH, 9,15,23 October 1860.
82White endorsed the name "for it will convict the inquiring mind." See "Battle Creek Conference Report," RH, 23 October 1860, p.179; TC, 1:223,224.
83"Conference Address, Organization," RH, 11 June 1861, p.21.
84James White, "Doings of the Battle Creek Conference Oct. 5&6, 1861," RH, 8 October 1861, p.148; SDAE, art., "Development of Organization in the Seventh-day Adventist Church."
85RH, 18 November, 1862, pp.197,198; SDAE, art. "Development of Organization in the Seventh-day Adventist Church." The conferences included Southern Iowa, Vermont, Illinois and Wisconsin, Minnesota, and New York.
86General Conference Committee, "General Conference Report," RH, 26 May 1863, p.204,205.
87SDAE, art., "Organization."
88They would, perhaps, be better thought of as a coordinated system of fundamental beliefs than as a theological system formulated about a central principle. A number of studies may be refered to for a survey of Seventh-day Adventist doctrine. Three books grew out of conversations between evangelicals and Adventists: Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine, (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn.,1957); Walter R. Martin, The Truth About Seventh-day Adventism, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1960); and Doctrinal Discussions, (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., c. 1962). Richard Rice's The Reign of God: An Introduction to Christian Theology From a Seventh-day Adventist Perspective, (Berrien Springs, Mich.: Andrews University. Press, 1985) is the most systematic overview of Adventist thought to date. See also Appendix 1.
89When in 1853 an inquirer sought a statement of faith, James White believed there was a unity on the great subjects of Christ's immediate, personal Advent, and the observance of all the commandments of God, and the faith of his Son Jesus Christ. These were all that was necessary to a readiness for Christ's Advent. James White, "No Creed," RH, 11 August 1853, p.52. What many saw as creed-making attempts drew many reproofs, and James White saw no wisdom in forcing the issue: "We answer, that she is provided with a creed that is sufficient. ‘All Scripture is given by inspiration of God'." James White, "Gospel Order," RH, 13 December 1853, p.18.
90This list of 25 principles was to appear on a number of occasions as in ST, 4 June 1874, p.3; RH, 28 January 1875, p.108; 24 November 1874, p.171, and in pamphlet and supplemental form in 1875, 1877-1878, and in 1888, with only minor changes.
91Declaration of the Fundamental Principles Taught and Practiced by the Seventh-day Adventists, (Battle Creek, Mich.: Steam Press of the Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association, 1872). This document is reprinted in Damsteegt, SDAMM, pp.301-305, under the heading of "Fundamental Principles of S.D.A. in 1872." See Appendix 2.
92Russell L. Staples, "Understanding Adventists," Ministry: International Journal for Clergy (Hagerstown, MD.: Seventh-day Adventist Ministerial Assn., September 1993), pp.19-21.