1888 & the Minneapolis Debate

It is 116 years after that Minnesota gathering adjourned, yet the Minneapolis Crisis continues. For decades the meaning of the message given at the 1888 General Conference has been analyzed and reanalyzed. In this present study, we again consider that message, and also some of the ongoing debate which has raged over that gathering down through the years.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, October 17, 1888, a series of meetings began in the Minneapolis Seventh-day Adventist Church, located on the corner of Lake Street and Fourth Avenue. Eighty-five delegates were present at the opening of this, the Twenty-seventh Session of the General Conference. Three of the delegates were from overseas; the rest from America. (Five additional delegates were seated on October 26.)

By this time, the Seventh-day Adventist denomination had 26,968 members. Next to the Battle Creek Dime Tabernacle, the Minneapolis church was the largest in the denomination. That, apparently, was why the Session was held there.

Elder George Ide Butler (1834-1918) had been General Conference president for eleven years (1871-1874, 1880-1888), and, by the time of the Minneapolis Conference, was in very poor health.

At this Session, he would be replaced by Elder Ole Andres Olsen (1845-1915). O.A. Olsen was a Norwegian who was head of our work in Scandinavia, when the Minneapolis Session elected him to the presidency on the first day that the delegates convened. (He was to continue on as president for a full ten years after the 1888 Session ended, until the College View, Nebraska, Session in 1897; and then continue on as president of the European Division, and then elsewhere in the world field.)

Before the Session began, a Bible Conference was held in this same building for eight-and-a-half days (from Wednesday, October 10, to Wednesday morning, October 17), the delegates had abundant opportunity to sharpen their oppositional skills, as they fought over by the identity of some of the horns of Daniel 7.

On one side was that brilliant young upstart from the West Coast, Alonzo Trever Jones. Leading the opposition against him was the elderly Uriah Smith. The two had been feuding over this issue for quite some time, and the horn controversy destroyed whatever unity there might have been at Minneapolis, long before the Session itself began.

Who was this young man from the West? Alonzo Trever Jones (1850-1923) was born in Ohio, and later moved to the Northwest, where he enlisted in the U.S. Army in Walla Walla. During his three-year enlistment, he spent his spare time pouring over history books and the Bible. After his discharge in 1873, he soon after joined the Adventist Church. He was already so knowledgeable, that he was quickly made a preacher. After a stint as teacher at Healdsburg College, in Northern California, he was appointed assistant editor of the Signs of the Times in May 1885. Several months later, he and E.J. Waggoner became joint editors of our West Coast weekly evangelistic journal. He was to continue on in that post until 1889. We will mention Waggoner's background, later in this study.

Who was Jones opponent?

Uriah Smith (1832-1903) had been a leading figure in the Adventist Church for decades. He was twelve at the time of the Great Disappointment in 1844, and became a Sabbath-keeping Adventist eight years later (1852). In 1855, he became editor of the Review and Herald.

Admittedly, both Smith and Jones were brilliant. But Smith had for years been the dean of Adventist thought and research, and he considered himself the denominational expert on the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation. The research of this young man from the uncivilized West was thought by Smith to be something of a challenge to his intellectual leadership.

Jones maintained that the the Alemanni, not the Huns, was one of the ten horns of Daniel 7. Smith violently took exception and defended Attila's precious Huns! This ongoing controversy apparently began back in 1885. Articles flew back and forth between Jones Signs and Smiths Review.

Obviously, it mattered little whether that particular horn was Huns or Alemanni. Jones had taken time to do more historical research than had the Millerites, and apparently was correct on the matter. (For the record, Jones position is the accepted one in the denomination today.)

For most of the eight days of the Bible Conference, the identity of the horns was the dilemna. Most of those present had a grand time taking sides and arguing. They generally lined up with their long-time associates, which, in most cases was Smith. Partisanship became so intense that the delegates would greet one another, between meetings, with the words, Are you a Hun or an Alemanni? Yet it is unlikely that anyone present, other than Jones, had ever researched the matter in the history books.

At one point in the fray, someone asked Lewis Johnson about the horns of Daniel 7, and he gruffly replied, I wish there were no horns. Then, when someone asked Ellen White (who was present throughout the entire 26-day Institute/Session) what she thought about the horns, she replied with wisdom, There are too many horns! She was referring to the needless argumentation over a point of moot significance. At no time, then or later, did she take a position on the matter.

With that pugnacious introduction to raw everyone's nerves, the Bible Conference finally ended. That same afternoon (Wednesday, October 17), the Minneapolis General Conference Session began. Immediately, the Battle Creek antagonists set to work to show that Jones, and his associate from California, E.J. Waggoner, were both trying to teach false doctrine. They contended that, not only was Jones teaching error on Bible prophecy at the Bible Conference, but that both men were teaching falsehoods about how men are saved at the General Conference Session.

Even before the Minneapolis Session began, the retiring president, G.I. Butler, from his sickbed at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, called on his cohorts to stand by the old landmarks, and resist the heresy of the upstarts from California.

Not all the Session delegates had attended the preliminary Bible Institute meetings, which had been held in the basement of the church. So, as the newcomers arrived for the Session, they were informed by their friends about the basement discussions, and the whole matter was slanted, in such a way as to malign the western team as being intent on a plot to destroy our pioneer beliefs.

During the Session, Dr. Waggoner was asked to present his series of studies on righteousness by faith. Who was Waggoner?

Ellet J. Waggoner (1855-1916) was born in Wisconsin, and obtained a medical degree from Bellevue Medical College, in New York City. For several years, he served on the staff of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, but later entered the ministry, for that was where his heart was. In 1884 he became an assistant editor of the Signs of the Times at Pacific Press. Two years later, he and Jones became co-editors of that journal, a position he held until 1891.

Waggoner gave eleven studies at the Minneapolis Session. The response to his studies was sharp and vigorous. On one side were pitted the older leaders of the church, under the powerful direction of Uriah Smith. In the other corner were two young men: Waggoner was 33, and Jones was 38. (Smith was 56 at the time and would die within 15 years.)

The discussions went back and forth for days. Ellen White later commented that she had been shown that Smiths supporters laughed in their dwellings at night, mimicked Jones mannerisms, and laughed him to scorn. Rather than being in a prayerful, humble attitude as little children of God, they were carrying on a celebration to the devil. These men were in no position to appreciate truth, much less accept it.

Yet there were those in attendance at the Session who did. They were gripped by the clear-cut Scriptural presentation, made by Jones and Waggoner. And they solemnly noted that Ellen White took her stand by the side of the two young men.

It has been widely thought that the message of righteousness by faith was the controverted issue at that Session. Yes, that is true. But there was also a second, an underlying, issue being fought out there. Let us not ignore it, but rather take warning, for it is most important:

At the Minneapolis Session, men were fighting the Spirit of Prophecy. And, because of that, they were fighting God. Beware, beware, lest you arrive in that same position! If Gods Inspired Word tells you something, you had better obey it. (But make sure that the combined Word, both the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, actually teach what you think it teaches, rather than an imagining something which is not really there.)

Elder Milian Lauritz Andreasen (1876-1962) was a Danish-born Adventist who would later become one of our leading theologians. He was the one who had the courage to stand up and oppose the apostasy occasioned by the Evangelical Conferences of the mid-1950s, which resulted in the 1957 book, Questions on Doctrine (You will find much more on Elder Andreasen in our book, The Evangelical Conferences, which is now part of our Doctrinal History Tractbook.)

In a biographical work on Elder Andreasen, published in 1979, some of his diaries are quoted. Here is what M.L. Andreasen wrote about the Minneapolis meetings, as he recalls it from what he heard in 1896 from the many of the men who had attended the Session. That which he tells us is profound in its implications:

With the establishment of Union College and also the Nebraska Sanitarium at College View, the place became a kind of center for various activities, and a convenient location for ministers to have their meetings and councils. It was only a matter of eight years since the famous 1888 Conference in Minneapolis, and the conference was frequently the subject of discussion.

Old Elder J.H. Morrison, father of Prof. H.A. Morrison, lived in Lincoln [Nebraska]. He had taken a prominent role in the discussions at Minneapolis and had written a book on the subject . .

It was largely through the kindness of old Brother Morrison that I was permitted to attend the discussions. Of course, I was there to listen and not to talk. And I did not talk, But I learned much. In fact, it was a wonderful school. I only wish that I had notes.

In retrospect, I doubt that the meetings I attended when the older ministers met were the best for a young convert hardly an Adventist yet. I would call it rather strong meat. They paid little attention to me, but plunged right into a subject of which I knew nothing. But I soon caught on, and was astonished at the freedom with which they discussed personalities . .

A few of the leaders were waiting for the day when there would be a change in the way the church was run. They thought that at the Minneapolis meeting such a change might be made.

I have heard many versions of what took place at Minneapolis. Someday, if I ever get time, I would like to tell the story as I heard it recounted at the meetings held in College View [next to Lincoln] by the men who were the leaders in opposition to Sister White. They did not consider the message of Jones and Waggoner to be the real issue. The real issue, according to my informers, was whether Sister White was to be permitted to overrule the men who carried the responsibility of the work. It was an attempt to overthrow the position of the Spirit of Prophecy. And it seemed the men in opposition carried the day.

Eventually she left for Australia, where she stayed nine years. It was there that a plan of organization which called for union conferences was tried that received her blessing and that in 1901 was implemented on the General Conference level. As interpreted by some, the Minneapolis conference was a revolt against Sister White. If that is so, it throws some light on the omega apostasy. M.L. Andreasen, Diary, quoted in Virginia Steinweg, Without Fear or Favor: the Life of M.L. Andreasen, pp. 42-44.

There are those who say that we need to corporately repent of our rejection of righteousness by faith at Minneapolis. It is correct that relatively few live out a balanced understanding of righteousness by faith (more on this later in this study). Yet it is equally true that a large number of our people have, for decades, effectually rejected the Spirit of Prophecy. We need more than a return to part of the means of salvation, forgiveness and right-doing by faith; we also need a return to another aspect of the salvation process: careful study of and obedience by faith to the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. Indeed, without the Word, how can we know how to live aright? It is not Heavens plan to instruct us in the right way, apart from the norms He has placed in His Written Word.

Throughout the entire Minneapolis meetings, Ellen White spoke several times to the assembled delegates. She spoke on the second day of the Bible Conference (October 11), and seven times at the Session which immediately followed (October 18-21, 23-24, with a written presentation on November 3). Since the Session, itself, began on the afternoon of October 17 and ended on the morning of November 4, it can be seen that her messages to the delegates spanned the entire Minneapolis Session.

A number of the delegates accepted the Spirit of Prophecy position at the Session. Many did not. However, in later years many of the leaders who opposed Ellen White at the Minneapolis Session appeared to repent and change their position. Whether or not they actually did is anyone's guess. There is no doubt that her continued defense of the position made it increasingly difficult for anyone to hold a major office and politically survive while openly opposing her. The problem was that the common people in the church were for the Spirit of Prophecy, and it was from them that the financial support of the church came. To openly oppose Ellen White was political suicide.

Because of that fact, a cloud will always hang over the question of how many of our leaders later came into line with the position advocated by Ellen White at Minneapolis. The official position is that most of the delegates accepted her position at the Session and the few who held out, capitulated in sincerity of heart shortly afterward. But the above quotation from Elder Andreasen's diary is indicative of the underlying position held by many of our leaders during the remaining years of her life.

Following the Minneapolis Session, Ellen White toured for a time with Jones and Waggoner, and took her case to the people. She explained the correct view of righteousness by faith, and the common people heard her gladly. These tours lasted from the late fall of 1888 until her departure for Australia in December 1891.

How can we today know what Ellen White taught at the Minneapolis Conference? This is the burning question. Yet the answer is simple enough, when we stop to consider it. We will not find certainty of that message by reviewing the writings of A.T. Jones and E.J. Waggoner. Why? Because they were uninspired men. Just because they had the right message at Minneapolis, does not mean they had it later, in their transcribed talks in the early 1990s and afterward. Mortals make mistakes continually; we know that! But Inspired prophets are different. We can know we have the truth when we go to the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.

In order to correctly understand the 1888 Message, we need only look in two places: (1) The Spirit of Prophecy statements about righteousness by faith, and (2) the Spirit of Prophecy books, penned in the decade and a half after that conference adjourned.

Let us consider each of them:

First, there are the Spirit of Prophecy statements about righteousness by faith: In 1980, the present writer compiled nearly every statement he could find in the Spirit of Prophecy on this topic. They are printed in the four-tract set, Message of Minneapolis Part 1-4 [FF22-25]. Carefully analyzing each of those quotations, we find that all but very few refer to obedience by faith (the sanctification process), not forgiveness by faith (the justification process). This is significant. Most of the Spirit of Prophecy statements about righteousness by faith, in context, are speaking about the importance of obeying the law of God, and how, through His enabling grace, it can be done in Christ's strength.

Indeed, you will find relatively few Spirit of Prophecy statements about justification. The statements are there, but the day-by-day living of the Christian life consistently receives the most emphasis.

Second, there are the Spirit of Prophecy books: The books which Ellen White wrote after the 1888 Conference clearly and abundantly teach how to come to Christ and how to walk with Him. Every aspect of conversion and Christian living is amply discussed. Steps to Christ (1892) was published only four years after the Minneapolis Conference. All aspects of justification and sanctification are dealt with in that book. Then came Mount of Blessings (1896), Desire of Ages (1898), Christ's Object Lessons (1900), and Ministry of Healing (1905).

Yet Satan was at work. He wanted to destroy the messengers who, with Ellen White, brought such great light to our people at Minneapolis. Already, by 1893, some of A.T. Jones statements were becoming extravagant. Ellen White had to write him that he should not teach that there are no conditions to salvation. Carefully read 1 Selected Messages, 377-382. As for E.J. Waggoner, both he and his father had been confused on whether Christ was a created being. Although God used erring men to help bring a message to His people, we can only trust with fullest confidence the statements of the Spirit of Prophecy, not the fallible helpers raised up for a brief time to come to her aid.

What happened to Alonzo Trever Jones in later years?

After writing against church leadership as a hierarchical power to be avoided, he quickly accepted the presidency of the California Conference when it was offered him in 1901. After serving for two years, he was invited by Dr. J.H. Kellogg to work with him. Ellen White had a way of learning things, and she immediately warned Jones not to unite with Kellogg. But, ignoring her warning, Jones resigned and, before heading east, stopped by to see Ellen White at Elmshaven. The present writer has read a transcript of that visit. It is a shocking presentation. Throughout the conversation, it is clear that A.T. Jones thought she was just an old woman who did not know any better than to try to give guidance to a man of Jones brilliant stature.

Jones rejected the warningand joined Kellogg. And the Spirit of Prophecy warning was exactly fulfilled: Jones came under Kellogg's hypnotic influence. Keep in mind that John Harvey Kellogg, from the late-1890s onward, was rapidly developing his pantheism heresy. Jones was caught up in that. (Between July 23, 1904 and November 10, 1911, she wrote eleven letters to Jones, appealing for him to return to historic Adventism.)

Because he had essentially rejected the Spirit of Prophecy, A.T. Jones was ready for the next deception which came along: Albion Fox Ballenger (1861-1921). After Ellen White urged the leaders to meet that crisis head on in 1905, Jones, knowing full well that Ellen White declared it to be error, united with A.F. Ballenger. The present writer has a copy of the issue of Ballenger's periodical, Gathering Call, which announced his death (August 1921). Jones wrote profusely in that issue, praising Ballenger. Jones died only two years later (1923).

Do not consider Alonzo T. Jones a brother in the faith; after the mid-1890s, he was rapidly veering off, first into self-glorification, and later into outright heresy.

What happened to Waggoner in later years?

Five years younger than Jones, Ellet J. Waggoner remained editor of the Signs of the Times until 1891. Shortly after the Minneapolis Conference ended, early the next year he went to England where, from 1892-1897, he was editor of the British Present Truth. He became the first president of the South England Conference. After a visit to Battle Creek and J.H. Kellogg in 1897, he returned to London and began developing a theory, which he called spiritual affinities. In 1903, he returned to America for the General Conference Session and enthusiastically spoke of his precious new light, but Ellen White wrote him on October 2 of that year, warning him that it was Satan who was making Waggoner's theories appear beautiful and attractive, when in reality they were hideous (Letter 230, 1903). She warned him that he was in great peril, akin to being in the mazes of spiritualism (Letter 231, 1903). He ignored her warnings.

Three years later, she commented that Dr. Waggoner was then departing from the faith in the doctrine he held regarding spiritual affinities. In another letter, she said he was giving heed to seducing spirits and dangerous doctrines of devils (Letter 121, 1906). Two years later, she declared his theories to be dangerous misleading fables (Letter 224, 1908).

From 1903 onward, Waggoner remained in America. After a short period at Berrien Springs, he went to Battle Creek and also joined Kellogg! Jones probably encouraged him to come. Ellen White warned him to leave Battle Creek, but he foolishly disregarded her counsel. When we reach that point where we can go it alone, without God's Word, we are headed for trouble and, erelong, we shall be deeply mired in sin and captivity to Satan.

A.T. Jones left God because he thought himself competent to plan and devise new theories for himself. He was an intellectual, and went off into doctrinal error and opposition to the Spirit of Prophecy.

E.J. Waggoner left God because he, too, imagined he could invent new religious theories. Beware of people who come to you with new theories! If their ideas sound strange and novel, it is generally because they are foreign to Bible/Spirit of Prophecy concepts. Dally with them but for a brief time, and you will become enmeshed in Satan's captivating power. Throwing an aura of exciting loveliness over them, he will enfold you in his coils.

Because Waggoner was the emotional type, and strong on feelings. his spiritual affinities theory was nothing more than an excuse for wickeness: He thought he could leave his wife and marry a different one, since he  needed to select in advance the one he would be married to in heaven. So, while still on the staff of Battle Creek Sanitarium, he left his wife in 1906 and remarried. The last last six years of his life he taught at Kellogg's Battle Creek College (1910-1916).

For a number of years, following the Minneapolis meeting, Ellen White wrote comments about how the message given there had been rejected by many of our leaders. The statements are important and should be carefully considered.

  One bright spot occurred in the late 1920s. You will recall that Arthur Grosvenor Daniells (1858-1935), had the longest presidency of any of our General Conference leaders (1901-1922). About the year 1909, he rejected Ellen White's appeal for him to sign an anti-meat pledge so that others would follow his example and the good work could begin at Washington which would spread outward to the local churches. After that rejection, she had little more to say to him.

Yet, after he was removed from the presidency of the world church in May 1922, Daniells had time on his hands, and he apparently underwent a reconversion experience. As a result, he compiled quotations with comments into the 1926 book, Christ our Righteousness. Reading it, one realizes that only a converted man could produce that book. That little book has helped many people over the years, and we thank God for it.

 In 1966, A.V. Olson, a retired General Conference officer, authored the book, Through Crisis to Victory: 1888-1901. It is an interesting book and matches its title. Olson's position (which is the official position of our denominational leaders) is that a great victory was won at the Minneapolis Conference and thereafter as all, or nearly all, of the leaders wholeheartedly accepted the 1888 message. Ever since then, according to Olson, the church has fully accepted the message presented in Minneapolis.

Yet when a young man, Everett Rogers, started preaching that message in the early 1930s at Enumclaw, Washington, simply giving what was in Daniells book, Christ Our Righteousness, he and the entire local congregation were disfellowshiped. Similar incidents have occurred elsewhere. That surely does not indicate submission by denominational leaders to the message of righteousness by faith!

About the year 1948, two young ministers (Robert J. Wieland and Donald K. Short) began studying Daniells book, and then tried to learn more about the 1888 Conference and its aftermath.

What was the actual outcome of the 1888 Conference? There are several views:

(1) Everything turned out just fine, and all, or nearly all, of the leaders accepted it at the time or soon after. There is, therefore, nothing that needed be corrected today, since we accepted the 1888 Message at the time and therefore have had it ever since. By and large, the church is now rejoicing in the experience of righteousness by faith. This is the position of our church leaders.

(2) Another view is that a large number of the workers in attendance at the meeting rejected the message at the time, and some later accepted it. But Ellen White accompanied Jones and Waggner to regional meetings for several years thereafter, and won over a large number of the laymen out in the field. However, in later years the freshness of that concept and experience died out of the experience of many. Today, there is a strong need for us, through repentance, obedience, and study, to return to God and His Word, and regain the experience offered us at Minneapolis. Individual repentance is required, but also reformation, a change in our practices and obedience by faith in Christ to the Inspired Writings. Repentance alone is not enough. This is the position of the present writer.

(3) A third view is that, because the leaders rejected it, the church as a whole rejected the 1888 message, and it can never again regain that experience nor again receive favor with God until, as a group in a special public meeting, it corporately repents of what it did in 1888. Repentance, then, will solve the problem, but it must be a corporate repentance; individual repentance is insufficient. It is repentance by the organization that will totally change our relationship with Christ for the better. This is the position of Wieland and Short.

Study Gods Word for yourself, so you will be sure you know what you believe. Take not the word of famous men, or outstanding lecturers. Let not other minds do your thinking for you. Go to Gods Word for yourself and let Him teach you His will for your life. Study the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy as though your life depended upon it. Who is to repent? How are we saved? How are we lost? The answers are clearly given in the Inspired Writings.

After studying together for a time, the two young men (both in their late 20s or early 30s at the time) authored a 204-page mimeographed manuscript, entitled 1888 Re-Examined. According to the book, because the church had rejected the 1888 message, it had a Christ-less message and was actually involved in Baal worship, the worship of a false Christ.

During the 1950 General Conference Session in San Francisco, Wieland and Short composed a paper in their hotel room and sent it to the church leaders. As you might imagine, those officials were shocked that someone was accusing them of Baal worship because their sermons were Christ-less.

Both men were under assignment to mission work in Africa, and a delay ensued. An agreement was finally worked out, that the young men would cease discussing their complaints and, in return, they would be sent to Africa as missionaries as originally planned. Leadership said no repentance was necessary, for everything was doing well, the church was making great progress, and 1888 was long-gone. The two young men yielded to the pressure, and accepted the offer: mission work in return for silence on the matter. In 1952 they went to Africa.

But several copies of their manuscript, 1888 Re-Examined, were circulated and created a stir. Then, during the time that the present writer was attending our Seminary, an individual and his wife came attended for a time. I met him and found him to be a godly individual. To say more would be to identify him. About the year 1980, I spoke by phone with a friend of many years, who had been present when many events of the preceding 25 years had occurred. He told me that it was the wife of that man who made the crucial copy of 1888 Re-Examined. While her husband took classes at the Seminary, his wife was sitting in a rear section of the basement library with the Seminary's own copy of 1888-Re-Examined. She was laboriously typing it out. When they returned home, they had thousands of copies printed and distributed widely.

This created quite a stir, and, in response, a booklet was printed by the General Conference, entitled,  A Further Appraisal of the Manuscript, 1888 Re-Examined. This was an extended rebuttal of the Wieland-Short book, and claimed they had taken their quotations quotations out of context.

(At the same time, in the mid-1950s, the Evangelical Conferences between our leaders in Washington D.C. and several high-placed representatives of the Evangelical Protestant churches were being held, culminating in the 1957 book, Questions on Doctrine. A rather complete coverage of those conferences and their aftermath is given in our Doctrinal History Tractbook.)

In 1958, Wieland and Short returned to the States on furlough. Once again they got together, and this time came up with a 70-page rebuttal to the rebuttal: An Answer to Further Appraisal. After producing that, somehow they were able to work out an agreement with the leaders to quietly return to their work in Africa. Leadership would rather have them in Africa than in America.

But, by this time, copies of 1888 Re-Examined were circulating everywhere. In order to champion the official position, Norval Pease stepped to the front with his 1962 book, By Faith Alone. In it, he urged his theory that, not only do the brethren have nothing to repent of, in regard to 1888, but, he added, salvation is by profession alone! This message, a forerunner of the new theology flood which would later pour in upon us, was warmly received by the Laodiceans in the church. We can have the world and heaven too! they cried. And, if Pease was right, that was true.

But Pease was not correct. There is an abundance of Bible and Spirit of Prophecy statements to counter his false hope of salvation in sin.

Then, in 1966, came A.V. Olson's book, From Crisis To Victory: 1888-1901, lauding the wonderful acceptance of the Minneapolis message which occurred during it and shortly afterward.

Pease received such a gratifying response from many of our people, that in 1969 he came out with a second book, The Faith that Saves.

Olson's book was matched in 1971 by Leroy Edwin Froom's book, Movement of Destiny, in which he seconded Olson's theme of glorious victory for our church and its leaders at Minneapolis and soon afterward.

In the mid-1980s, Wieland and Short retired. At that time, Wieland began lecturing, and soon was holding the meetings in the name of an organization the two founded, the 1888 Study Committee.

With the passing of time, this lecture circuit gained momentum as leading speakers in the church, well accepted by leadership, toured with him. While other Independent Ministries were gradually shut out of the churches, the 1888 Study Committee continued to have church doors opened to them.

One of the men on their lecture team was Jack Sequeira. Sequeira was the senior pastor of the Walla Walla, Washington, Adventist Church. After becoming senior pastor of that congregation (the church attended by faculty and students of our northwest college: Walla Walla College), he came out clearly with two key sermons.

In the first, he flatly stated that it was wrong for  our people to quote or refer to the Spirit of Prophecy in public meetings, or even in private conversations (!), in order to support, defend, or influence another regarding a doctrinal belief or church standard.

In the other sermon, he declared that there is no sanctuary in heaven, because all heaven is the sanctuary. He declared that there is no two-room building there, and never has been. Those who have listened to those two sermon tapes, recognize that Jack Sequeira is not really a Seventh-day Adventist. He is an ordained Evanglical preaching in our churches.

The crisis in the 1888 Study Committee came in the late fall of 1993, when it published whole-hearted approval of Seqeira's new book, Beyond Belief, in which he clearly rejects obedience to the law of God, through faith in Christ, as an aspect of salvation.

Because Robert Wieland had shown consistent support for Sequeira's book and beliefs, a group of historic believers met with him in southern California in January of this year (1994). Reconvening on February 2-3, approximately 40 were in attendance, including both Wieland and Sequeira.

By the end of the two-day gathering, it was clear that Sequeira and Wieland stood squarely together in their positions. (For much more on Sequeira's views, see The Teachings of Jack Sequeira [WM501-506], a six-part tract set released in January 1994.)

How did Elder Wieland slip away? Very likely, he spent more time discussing deep theology with friends and associates, than in studying Gods Word as a little child. Did you know that only little children will be saved? The little children are the ones willing to bow humbly before the Inspired Writings, and take those Writings just as they read. Those who want to add their own inspiration to the Inspired Whole, will unconsciously find themselves walking away from the sacred books, and seeking out those who have uninspired theories. Self-kindled sparks takes the place of the Words of God.

It is all a tragic mistake, but it can happen so gradually that one is not aware it is taking place. Keep soaking in Gods Word! Approach it humbly as a little child reading his precious Fathers writings. Respect Gods Word more than the sayings of those around you. Keep submitting to that Word! Keep obeying it, by the empowerment of Christ, your Lord and Saviour.

Sequeira's lectures and book is only part of a multi-pronged attack against historic Adventism. Sequeira teaches that we do notand should nottry to obey God. It is not our place to resist sin, but to let Him automatically work out our obedience for us. We should only believe and wait for God do it. Sequeira's typical new theology includes the concept that there is no atonement after the cross, because everyone was saved at the cross. All that is thereafter necessary is to accept that salvation. Sequeira's teaching is basically the same as that of Helmut Ott and Norman Gulley.

On July 23, 1993, a special ministerial gathering was convened at Cohutta Springs, Georgia. A 32-page document was given to all those who attended the meeting. That document discussed the 1888 problem and presented as a solution a combination of Norval Peases concept of salvation-by-faith-alone, with O.A. Olson's 1888-as-victory theory.

This July 1993 gathering combined sinning till the Second Coming with the 1888-victory theme. Yet this is understandable: If we were all saved at the cross, then the opposition at Minneapolis mattered not, for all in attendance had professed faith in Christ and so all were saved already, no matter what position they took on righteousness by faith!

With these new theologians, profession is everything; what is done in the life, by the saved individual is of little consequence.

So, in a sense, we have come full circle. At Minneapolis, a mature understanding of righteousness by faith was presented, and the opponents wanted works alone. Today when that mature view is presented, the opponents want faith alone. All the while, the correct view of forgiveness and enabling obedience by faith in Christ (the message of the Third Angel: Revelation 14:12) is set aside, ridiculed, ignored, or repudiated.

Yet the great truth about Righteousness by Faith is clearly and simply stated in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. Just read Steps to Christ - There it is!