Today, I would like to re-visit a letter brother A.T. Jones
wrote to brother A.G. Daniells in 1906. I believe it
contains more than valuable information as to what was
really going on in those days. So we need to put aside
our prejudices (if there are any) and read the following
letter with a receptive mind so that if brother Jones was
speaking the truth, nothing will stand in the way of our
accepting it. May the Spirit of the Lord be with you as
you follow through to the end of this letter. Thank you
for your attention. God bless!
Battle Creek, Mich., Jan. 26, 1906
Takoma Park Station, Washington, D.C.
Dear Brother:--Your letter of the 17th in answer to mine of the 6th goes so far afield from anything expected or, as I think, called for by my letter, that I am disposed to follow you there, and do all that I can to take away all ground for your having any perplexity about me or my course. Indeed, if you had remembered things that at the beginning I said to you, you need not to have been perplexed at all concerning me, if you expected me to be consistent at all.
First as to the General Conference matters, and my relations to the Committee. Before the General Conference of 1897, at College View, the conditions were such that in that Conference things came to a deadlock. By the Committee and presidents in council, I, in my absence was appointed to read the Testimonies to find the way out. God did lead us out gloriously. A change was made: Brother Irwin being elected president. And I was made a member of the Committee.
It was not very long, however, before the same influences that had produced the situation at College View, were again at work. I saw it plainly enough to satisfy me, and by the time of the General Conference of 1899, at South Lancaster, things were in a bad shape again in some respects--though not near so far along as at College View. In the South Lancaster Conference one day, all unexpectedly, and unintentionally on the part of anybody in the Conference, the power of God came in in a special manner, bringing the whole Conference to its knees at once, and working a great deliverance again.
Brother Irwin stated openly in the Conference that he had "been a coward." The whole matter can be read in the Bulletin of that Conference for that day. On another day in that Conference, the power of God came in specially and carried the deliverance further.
By action of that Conference, I was continued on the Committee. It was not long before the same old influences were at work; and in about a year they had got such a hold again, that, rather than be compromised, I resigned from the Committee.
Then came the General Conference of 1901, in Battle Creek. According to the arrangements I was to report the proceedings of the Conference: and according to the arrangements, Brother Prescott and Brother Waggoner were not expecting, and evidently were not expected, to have even that much to do. But before the Conference actually assembled in session there occurred that meeting in the Library Room of the College Building, in which Sister White spoke on General Conference matters and organization, declaring that there must be "an entire new organization, and to have a Committee that shall take in not merely half a dozen that is to be a ruling and controlling power, but it is to have representatives of those that are placed in responsibility in our educational interests, in our sanitariums, etc., that there should be a renovation without any delay. To have this Conference pass on and close up as the Conferences have done with the same manipulating, with the very same tone, and the same order--God forbid! God forbid, brethren... And until this shall come we might just as well close up the Conference today as any other day. . . This thing has been continued and renewed for the last fifteen years or more, (1901 minus 15 years takes us back to 1886), and God calls for a change."
To be continued
YES! God asked that a change be made in the conduct of the people who profess to represent the principles of His word. Us sinners ALWAYS need to be seeking that change. But this quote does not seek the destruction of the General Conference that you seek. It seeks the reformation of leaders hearts. That request is one that will ALWAYS be relevant and need attention. This quote does not support the dismantling of any leadership structure.
The call was for "reorganization".
Again, unless we forget:
"What we want now is a reorganization. We want to
begin at the foundation, and to build upon a
different principle." E.G. White, 1901 G.C. Bulletin,
I have already quoted from the 1901 Bulletin and from
the Testimonies what the true foundation for the
organization of the church is and from that what
the new principle is that we were to build upon.
The 1901 working order eliminated the
presidency. It did not dismantle the General
Conference but by allowing Christ to be
the Head over all things in the church, the
General Conference was to build upon
a new principle, the principle of self-government
in Christ by the Holy Spirit. This principle was to
extend to all levels of the church. It is explained
in details in the Bulletin and I have made this
info available before.
The call for reorganization was not a call
to destroy and dismantle but to reform, to
allow the Holy Spirit to be King instead of
having a man as president of the G.C.
It was a call away from the track of Rome
and the establishment of Gospel Order
within our ranks.
Clark, have you read the 1901 and 1903
G.C. Bulletins? I am beginning to think
that you have never seen these bulletins.
Prayers and blessings,
*It meant that ministers and people were to be
joint to the Head--by being joint to the Head,
they would have been organized for one cannot
be a member of Christ's body and not be organized
from the Head.
No. The quote you gave from 1909 did not call for reorganization. It called for reformation of the "conduct of people".
The only quote you have produced that asks for reorganization came from previously in 1901. There WAS a significant reorganization of the General Conference after that point. And then EGW did not say that God requested reorganization from that point forward.
So linking all subsequent warnings and calls for reformation to a prior call for reorganization appears to be a false linking of the two different things. Later calls for reorganization are not made for that I have ever seen. Linking the two warnings is something that perhaps should not be done.
Clark, you can't be serious! In 1909 the Lord stated that the self-confident management of men had resulted in putting God aside and accepting the devisings of men and that if this order of things was allowed to continue their faith would soon become extinct and you fail to see in these solemn words a call to go back to the 1901 Gospel Order!!!
Brother, if I have spoken wrongly, please show where.
You still haven't shown me where I have spoken wrongly.
John, it is becoming more and more evident that you are loosing your bearings if you haven't already lost them. No offense. :)
This is not about "balance" but about the facts of history in the light of the Testimonies and what is recorded in the very minutes of the General Conference Bulletins of those years.
Getting to the truth IS about weighing all facts in a balanced manner. It does not mean we ignore all positive posts or all negative posts. We need to prayerfully weigh them all to get to the TRUTH.
As an example, I could write a history of you (or me) and our relationship to the SDA Church. I would stuff it full of quotes from former congregation members, co-workers, and supervisors. All quotes would be honest. And doing all this I could still paint a completely negative picture of you (or me) by only focusing on exposing the negative. Do you agree that this would not be a good representation of you? Do you agree that it would not present the whole truth? I know for a fact that you would indignantly say "That's not the TRUTH!" And so would I. And we would be right. But then some would say, what was said in error? And we could not point to ANYTHING. All quotes were honest. But we both still know that the story presented was not representative of the TRUTH. It was simply too one-sided and biased. That, although truthful, is not the whole truth and does not fully represent you or I.
Likewise, to show the condition of the church at any one time, you must present all the quotes available, good and bad. That is the only way to expose the whole TRUTH.
Concerning the Mosaic Order, brother Jones continues:
"I will never agree to it. I know what it means; for it was tried once, and I know what it meant then. That is exactly the course that was taken in the second and third centuries after Christ in the first steps of the papacy. This can be verified by any one who will only look through the pages of the church history of that time. And that I may not be counted too personal and pointed in this, I will say here what I have written in another place of that first attempt in adopting the Mosaic order of Christian times. Here is what I said of that attempt then:
"But again there came a falling away. Again God as King was abandoned. Christ as 'Leader and Commander of His people,' and as only entitled to pre-eminence, was set aside. Men 'loving to have the pre-eminence' assumed His place. The Holy Spirit, as Sovereign and Guide in and of the Church, was supplanted with the devisings and machinery of men, again like 'all the nations.'
"Yet this was not done in open and confessed disregrard of God. It was all done under cover of the Scripture, and as the manifestation of the divine order itself. This deception was accomplished through the pretense of adopting the Mosaic order of organization. But to go back to the Mosaic order was, in itself and at one plunge, the total abandonment of the Christian order.
"This would have been true, even if the Mosaic order had been truly and completely adopted. But the true adoption of the Mosaic order was simply impossible. Under the Mosaic order the people were a compact mass, separate from all other people, and dwelling by tribes compactly within specific and narrow limitations; the area of the whole nation being one sixth less, and the people being four to six or even eight times more than that of Connecticut. To think, then, of applying that order in the case of a people who were scattered all over the known world, dwelling promiscuously among all the people of the world, one here, another yonder, two or three here, and four or five there, a small company in one city and no other within many miles--to think of applying in truth the Mosaic order and organization in such a situation as that, could not possibly be anything else than sheer wild humanisticallish nonsense.
"And in fact, it never was either adopted or applied in truth. The scheme was never anything but a pretense, a contrivance to save appearances. But it served the ambitious clerics as a means of hoodwinking the people, and giving to themselves a show of divine sanction for their own assumed authority to reign against Christ and in the place of God. For how easy and natural it was under that 'Mosaic order' to hold before the people the presumption and fate of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and others, as the 'divine and awful warning to all men who should dare anything against the bishop,' for 'we must look upon the bishop as upon the Lord Himself.'
"And this humanisticallish thing, which from the beginning was only a wicked invention of perverse minded men; this thing that was wholly the fruit of apostasy; this thing that sprang only from the abandonment of the Christian order and the adoption of a fraud on the Mosaic order; this thing that was only the fruit of the rejection of Christ for Moses, and thus the substitution of themselves for Christ; this utterly anti-Christian thing, they who made it called it "the kingdom of God!" the one and only true church! But it was never anything else than only the kingdom of man in the place of God."
It is therefore the plain truth that in this openly professed adoption of the Mosaic and Old Testament order of organization there has been taken by the Seventh-day Adventist denomination this same open and definite step in the very course of the papacy. This simply can not be denied; the parallel is perfect. In the Review and Herald on this subject, by General Conference officials, there has been set down in substance and almost in very words the arguments of Ignatius and Cyprian, and even of the full-fledged papacy. Even such a statement as that "In Peter, as in leading brethren now whom God is using, these companies of believers were united in the Holy Ghost."--Review and Herald, May 2, 1907, p.10 , first column, the Home Secretary.
"In Peter"! "In Peter... believers were united in the Holy Ghost"! Think of that! That is precisely, in very thought, the claim of the papacy on behalf of Peter, and on behalf of the Bishop of Rome as the "successor of blessed Peter." And lo! just as "in Peter" so "in leading brethren now" "believers are united in the Holy Ghost." It is not true. In Christ, the crucified One--in Christ alone, are believers ever united in the Holy Ghost. But I have not time to follow that utterly false lead. Do you hold that? Do you endorse that position?
The Seventh-day Adventist professed "organization" is not that of the Mosaic order in truth; it is only, as that before, a fallacious pretense of it. This is demonstrated in the fact that in this present case this professed "organized work" after the Mosaic order, absolutely disregarded the plain words of the very first principle of justice as in the Mosaic order. And who ever heard of the captains and elders of Israel making a constitution and by-laws for themselves? Instead of this Seventy-day Adventist "organized work" being truly after the Mosaic order, it is exactly the repetition of that system of professed organization that resulted from abandoning the New Testament order, in the second and third centuries, and that was the first stage toward the fully developed and reigning Popedom."
Very solemn words, but true!
Is it any wonder that the Lord gave Mrs. White a dream which confirms the above.
"That night I dreamed that I was in Battle Creek looking out from the side glass at the
door and saw a company marching up to the house, two and two. They looked stern
and determined. I knew them well and turned to open the parlor door to receive them,
but thought I would look again. The scene was changed. The company now presented
the appearance of a Catholic procession. One bore in his hand a cross, another a reed.
And as they approached, the one carrying a reed made a circle around the house,
saying, three times: 'This house is proscribed. The goods must be confiscated. They
have spoken against our holy order.' Terror seized me, and I ran through the house,
out of the north door, and found myself in the midst of a company, some of whom I
knew, but I dared not speak a word to them for fear of being betrayed. I tried to seek
a retired spot where I might weep and pray without meeting eager, inquisitive eyes
wherever I turned. I repeated frequently: 'If I could only understand this! If they will tell
me what I have said or what I have done...' My husband, who was sleeping in a bed
in the same room, heard me weeping aloud and awoke me. My pillow was wet with
tears, and a sad depression of spirits was upon me." Testimonies, Vol.1, p.578.
"They have spoken against our holy order." Yes, against the false Mosaic Order
which has been adopted to the exclusion of Christ and the Christian Order!
I believe the Lord gave this dream to Mrs. White for us who are living in these
I think we need to quit pretending that A.T. Jones was a prophet and that everything he said came from the Lord. That certainly isn't the case. Outside of Jones writings, this abolition of the GC and church leadership structure is not supported by scripture or SOP. Yes, reform is called for. Yes, we always need humble servants of God as our leaders. Yes, we always need to rely on and listen to God before any man. And yes, leaders in the past have erred and been reprimanded by Ellen White. But none of that supports the abolition of our church leadership structure. I'm frankly a little weary of hearing what A.T. Jones has to say on this topic when clearly he had a personal disagreement with A.G. Daniells. No one can show me that A.G. Daniells was not chosen by God to be the leader of our church. So why should we assume Jones was correct in his opinion? We should not. A.G. Daniells was the longest serving president of our denomination serving from 1901-1922. God used him mightily during his entire life. Ellen G. White did not call for his removal nor speak against him. His opinion of the church leadership differed from Jones. The church leadership agreed with Daniells and not Jones. So what is the problem? How can you know Jones' opinion is correct and Daniells and the rest of the church leadership was wrong? Do you not think that God lead the church leadership in that decision? It was a decision of the General Conference in session and not one man. To me, that indicates with certainty that the decision was the will of God. Is not the GC in session the voice of God on this earth?
I fear that you are feeling personal pain caused you by church leadership and are desperately seeking support for a reason to disband the whole bunch. Jones was similarly hurt by church leadership so his opinion often mirrors yours. None of this makes the opinions you share God's will. Snippets of quotes from EGW that pertained to events at that time, do not make them universal proclamations. I have seen no Scripture or SOP that supports dismantling the structure of our church leadership as you suggest.
We should not attempt to find basis only for what we believe already, we should read Scripture and SOP to know what to believe. It's a crucial difference.
Blessings and prayers,