Gospel Order


Table of Contents

III - Marked Downward Development in the Church 1891-1897

1891 – Consolidation and Centralization.
-- E.G. White Sent to Australia.

Guard Against Adopting Worldly Policy

“If there is committed to us a special message, as we believe, that message must go, without reference to the customs or prejudices of the world, not governed by a policy of fear or favor… Patterning after the world and adopting a worldly policy, must be guarded against. Men in responsible positions should go to God as often as did Daniel in earnest supplication for divine help. “ LS 314.

“The General Conference for 1891 was held in Battle Creek March 5-25. Sunday forenoon, March 15, the committee of twenty-one appointed at the preceding General Conference to consider the consolidation of the publishing interests, presented its report. The committee spoke favorably of the objects to be gained by consolidation, but advised that the Conference move cautiously. They then proposed that the General Conference Association be reorganized, with a view to its eventually securing control of all the publishing work of the denomination.”

“In harmony with the advice of this committee, the General Conference Association, intended at first as an agency for the holding of church property, was reorganized with a board of twenty-one members, and was given control of many lines of work, of which publishing interests stood first.” LS 313.

Controlling Power in Battle Creek

“Notwithstanding frequent counsels to the contrary, men continued to plan for centralization of power, for the binding of many interests under one control. This work was first started in the Review and Herald office. Things were swayed first one way and then another. It was the enemy of our work who prompted the call for the consolidation of the publishing work under one controlling power in Battle Creek. “ 8T 217.

E.G. White and Her Son Sent to Australia

“In his reports and addresses to the General Conference of 1891, Elder S. N. Haskell … He pleaded that teachers be chosen to open a school in Australasia; and also that Mrs. Ellen G. White and her son, W. C. White, spend some time in that field.” LS 331.

Her mission to Australia was not according to God’s will. In 1896, she wrote Bro. Olsen:

“Dear Brother [O. A.] Olsen:…. I have not, I think, revealed the entire working that led me here to Australia. Perhaps you may never fully understand the matter. The Lord was not in our leaving America. He did not reveal that it was His will that I should leave Battle Creek. The Lord did not plan this, but He let you all move after your own imaginings. The Lord would have had W. C. White, his mother, and her workers remain in America. We were needed at the heart of the work. . . . But the Lord read the hearts of all. There was so great a willingness to have us leave, that the Lord permitted this thing to take place. Those who were weary of the testimonies borne were left without the persons who bore them. Our separation from Battle Creek was to let men have their own will and way, which they thought superior to the way of the Lord. The result is before you. Had you stood in the right position the move would not have been made at that time. The Lord would have worked for Australia by other means and a strong influence would have been held at Battle Creek, the great heart of the work. There we should have stood shoulder to shoulder, creating a healthful atmosphere to be felt in all our conferences. It was not the Lord who devised this matter.” 10MR 392

Another letter she wrote while yet sailing her way to Australia.

“The world must not be introduced into the church, and married to the church, forming a bond of unity. Through this means the church will become indeed corrupt, and as stated in Revelation, "a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." TM 265

“Let us not form unholy bonds of union with the friends of the world; for God has pronounced His curse upon all such unions… Already has the power of darkness placed its mold and superscription upon the work that should stand forth untainted, unpolluted from Satan's cunning devices… Woe be unto him whose wisdom is not from above but from beneath!” TM 277

Repeated Warning from E.G. White

Further departure of the SDA Church from Christ, would make her the harlot of Babylon as prophesied in Revelation 18:2.

“In the Bible the sacred and enduring character of the relation that exists between Christ and His church is represented by the union of marriage… The unfaithfulness of the church to Christ in permitting her confidence and affection to be turned from Him, and allowing the love of worldly things to occupy the soul, is likened to the violation of the marriage vow. The sin of Israel in departing from the Lord is presented under this figure; and the wonderful love of God which they thus despised is touchingly portrayed: "I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest Mine." "And thou wast exceeding beautiful and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through My comeliness, which I had put upon thee. . . . But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown." "As a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord;" "as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband!" Ezekiel 16:8, 13-15, 32; Jeremiah 3:20.” “In the New Testament, language very similar is addressed to professed Christians who seek the friendship of the world above the favor of God. Says the apostle James: "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." GC 381-382.

“A virtuous woman represents a pure church, a vile woman an apostate church. Babylon is said to be a harlot.” 4SP 233.

1893 – SDA Church Prematurely Called Babylon
-- Strong Warning to the SDA Church

“ Thou Capernaum… Shall Be Brought Down to Hell.”

“How is it that these pamphlets denouncing the Seventh-day Adventist Church as Babylon were scattered abroad everywhere, at the very time when that church was receiving the outpouring of the Spirit of God? How is it that men can be so deceived as to imagine that the loud cry consists in calling the people of God out from the fellowship of a church that is enjoying a season of refreshing? Oh, may these deceived souls come into the current, and receive the blessing, and be endued with power from on high.” TM 23.

“There is but one church in the world who are at the present time standing in the breach, and making up the hedge, building up the old waste places; and for any man to call the attention of the world and other churches to this church, denouncing her as Babylon, is to do a work in harmony with him who is the accuser of the brethren.” TM 50.

“Those who assert that the Seventh-day Adventist churches constitute Babylon, or any part of Babylon, might better stay at home. Let them stop and consider what is the message to be proclaimed at this time.” TM 37.

The message that the SDA Church was Babylon in 1893, was premature and preempted. It was a premature call, a deception. God is very precise when He gives clear statements in the Testimonies pertaining to the Church. At that time, 1893, the SDA Church was not Babylon yet. Significant words like – “at this time”, “at the very time,” “at the present time” – clearly referred to 1893. As such, distinctly clearing all doubts about the right timing of the Babylon message.

It is very clear that the SDA Church was not yet Babylon in 1893 when the message was given the first time. E.G. White states:

“My brother, I learn that you are taking the position that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is Babylon, and that all that would be saved must come out of her… My brother you are certainly off the track. The second angel’s message was to go to Babylon (the churches) proclaiming her downfall, and calling the people to come out of her. This same message is to be proclaimed the second time.” TM 58-59.

Yet a strong warning to the SDA Church was given:

“Of those who boast of their light, and yet fail to walk in it, Christ says, "But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum [Seventh-day Adventists, who have had great light], which art exalted unto heaven [in point of privilege], shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee." Review and Herald, August 1, 1893

It seems unthinkable that the SDA Church being the modern Israel, the chosen one, would be brought down to hell; but “it should be remembered that the promises and threatenings of God are alike conditional.” 1SM 67.

The promise is upon condition of obedience.” 2T 80.

After the chilling pronouncement, there was never been hardly a change in the conduct of affairs in the SDA Church in the succeeding years.

1895 – Worldly Policy Introduced into the Church.
-- General Conference Corrupted.

“A Cage of Every Unclean and Hateful Bird.”

“The world must not be introduced into the church and married to the church. Through union with the world the church will become corrupt,--"a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." The customs of the world must not have a place; for they will be open doors through which the prince of darkness will find access, and the line of demarcation will become indistinguishable between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not… Satanic forces are continually at work through the world, and it is Satan’s object to bring the church and the world into such close fellowship that their aims, their spirit, their principles, shall harmonize..." Review and Herald, February 26, 1895. (3RH 233).

Wrong Principles and Sentiments--Consolidation

The General Conference—the center of the work—was becoming corrupt:

“I do not find rest in spirit. Scene after scene is presented in symbols before me, and I find no rest until I begin to write out the matter. At the center of the work matters are being shaped so that every other institution is following in the same course. And the General Conference is itself becoming corrupted with wrong sentiments and principles.* In the working of plans, the same principles are manifest that have controlled matters at Battle Creek for quite a length of time.” TM 359.

Battle Creek—Heart of the Work

“If the heart of the work becomes corrupt, the whole church, in its various branches and interests, scattered abroad over the face of the earth, suffers in consequence. Satan's chief work is at the headquarters of our faith.” 4T 210.

“At Battle Creek is the great heart of the work. Every pulsation is felt by the members of the body all over the field. If this great heart is in health, a vital circulation will be felt all through the body of Sabbathkeepers. If the heart is diseased, the languishing condition of every branch of the work will attest the fact.” 1T 596.

“It is impossible for you to unite with those who are corrupt, and still remain pure. "What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial?" God and Christ and the heavenly host would have man know that if he unites with the corrupt, he will become corrupt.” 6BC 1102.

So Christ sorrows and weeps over our churches, over our institutions of learning, that have failed to meet the demand of God. He comes to investigate in Battle Creek, which has been moving in the same track of Jerusalem.” 8T 67.

1896 – Admonition: Not to Choose One Man as President of the General Conference.

“As a people we should study God's plans for conducting His work. Wherever He has given directions in regard to any point, we should carefully consider how to regard His expressed will. This work should have special attention. It is not wise to choose one man as president of the General Conference.” TM 342

Sacred Character Lost

“To a large degree the General Conference Association has lost its sacred character, because some connected with it have not changed their sentiments in any particular since the Conference held in Minneapolis…”

“Who can now feel sure that they are safe in respecting the voice of the General Conference Association? If the people in our churches understood the management of the men who walk in the light of the sparks of their own kindling, would they respect their decisions? I answer, No, not for a moment. I have been shown that the people at large do not know that the heart of the work is being diseased and corrupted at Battle Creek. “ SpM 35.

1897 – Decentralization of the General Conference.

“Prior to 1897 the president of the General Conference also had been president of the Foreign Mission Board, president of the General Conference Association, president of the International Tract Society, and president of the Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association, besides being a member of a number of other committees and boards…”

“It also was voted that the General Conference territory be divided into three sections; the United States and British North America, the European Union Conference, and the Australasian Union Conference, the rest to be under the care of the Mission Board. The Mission Board was to consist of 9 members, and the General Conference Committee was increased to 13 members. Union conferences were to be organized in Europe and America as soon as it was deemed advisable.” SDA Encyclopedia, p 1050. (see also 2PRC 270).

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