THE NEWS FROM MINNEAPOLIS

THE NEWS FROM MINNEAPOLIS


The personalities and issues of the 1888 General Conference.


Characters


George I. Butler

H. Grant

Stephen Haskell

J. P. Henderson

Dewitt Hottel

Alonzo T. Jones

R. M. Kilgore

J. H. Morrison

Uriah Smith

R. A. Underwood

Isaac Van Horn

Ellet J. Waggoner

Ellen White

William C. White

Jeremiah Wilson

Gray, a reporter

Mrs. Willis

William Hersey

Several other unnamed delegates


Synopsis


            This play tells the story of the most eventful General Conference Session in the history of the Adventist Church, the Minneapolis Conference of 1888. The issues were complex, the personalities numerous, and the ramifications of the event reach down to our time.

            The play opens in the editorial offices of a city newspaper, the Minneapolis Journal. Reporter Gray has been assigned to cover the upcoming Seventh-day Adventist Conference, and as the story unfolds from this point we become observers alongside him.

            The second and third scenes introduce us in succession to the “inside” personalities on both sides of the doctrinal controversy. At the church headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan, we encounter the middle-aged conservatism of Review and Herald editor Uriah Smith and church president George Butler. Then, over in the west we focus on two bright and ambitious young men, Alonzo Jones and Ellet Waggoner, who edit the church’s missionary paper, The Signs of the Times. We are introduced to the theological issues which will polarize the upcoming conference, as well as the unique role played by Ellen White.

            Scene 4 takes us right into the conference itself. Reporter Gray is there with us, interviewing delegates before and between sessions. We are part of the 1888 audience as Elder Haskell leads us through the formal opening session, uneventful perhaps except for the ill-conceived telegram sent by the ailing President Butler to the assembled delegates. Soon we are part of a debating session, as feelings build up to a crescendo. The protests and appeals of Ellen White are unheeded as delegates lampoon and vilify one another. But as the shouting of the meeting dies away, we hear the voice of Ellen White confessing that this conference has been “one of the saddest chapters in the history of the believers.”

            In the final scene, we are back with reporter Gray interviewing some of the delegates as they leave Minneapolis for their home states. Gray sums up for us what the conference has done, and what the church might yet become if it heeds the message of righteousness by faith in Jesus.

 

Historical Background


            The General Conference Session held at Minneapolis, Minnesota, during October-November 1888 was a turning point in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. For more than forty years, in their preaching and publishing, Adventists had placed emphasis on the Law of God and the Sabbath. These were distinct and fundamental truths which gave Adventism its uniqueness and purpose. In evangelism, these unique doctrines were the focus of prophetic interpretation.

            But something was lost in all the heavy emphasis on Sabbath, Sanctuary, and Second Coming – the recognition of “justification by faith” as the basic doctrine of Christianity. Ellen White saw legalism taking hold among Seventh-day Adventists, and she voiced her concern in letters and admonition to church leaders. Some accepted her messages, others held firmly to their traditional stance, fearing that a change of emphasis would undermine the church’s platform of truth. By the mid-1880's it was a case of the “old guard” (leaders such as George I. Butler and Uriah Smith) versus younger men like Alonzo T. Jones and Ellet J. Waggoner, who vigorously pressed their viewpoints in The Signs of the Times.

            The doctrinal controversy came to a head at the 1888 General Conference Session. Delegates took sides, and some sessions were stormy to say the least. Throughout the Conference, Ellen White herself presented a series of addresses on the themes of the gospel and justification, bringing spiritual revival to the hearts of many. Others refused to budge from their “time-honored” viewpoints, and carried an acrimonious spirit back to their home churches. The conflict between law and grace in the Seventh-day Adventist Church continued on into the 1890's, and even beyond into our own time.


List of Sources:


Butler, George I. The Law in the Book of Galatians. Review and Herald Publishing Association,             1886.


Ellen G. White 1888 Materials. (4 volumes) Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1988.


Knight, George R. From 1888 to Apostasy: the Case of A. T. Jones. Review and Herald     Publishing Association, 1987.


Ministry Magazine, Vol. 61, No. 2, February 1988: Special edition on “Righteous by Faith.”


Olson, A. V. Thirteen Crisis Years, 1888-1901. Rev.ed. Review and Herald Publishing      Association, 1981.


Pease, Norval F. “The Truth As It Is In Jesus: The 1888 General Conference Session,        Minneapolis, Minnesota.” Adventist Heritage, Vol. 10, No. 1, 1985, pp. 3-10.


Reid, George W. et. al. “Meet the Presidents.” Adventist Heritage, Vol. 10, No. 1, 1985, pp. 48-            55.


Spalding, Arthur W. Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists. Vol. 2, Review and Herald             Publishing Association, 1961.


Waggoner, Ellet J. The Gospel in the Book of Galatians. [1888]


Characters

 

George I. Butler          President of the General Conference from 1871 to 1874 and from 1880 to 1888. He saw himself not only as a strong leader, but also as a theolgoical watch-dog for the denomination. He was not able to attend the Minneapolis Session because of ill health, but sent a telegram advising the delegates to “stand by the old landmarks!”

 

H. Grant                      President of the Minnesota Conference in 1888.

 

Stephen Haskell          Haskell was appointed chairman of the meetings in Minneapolis. He also preached at the 11 o’clock service on Sabbath, October 20, 1888.

 

Dewitt Hottel              An Adventist minister who served in the Virginia Conference in the late 1880's. Hottel attended the 1888 General Conference Session. He kept a sketchy diary of his experiences there. This diary offers a day-by-day account of the events that took place between October 13 and November 4, 1888.

 

Alonzo T. Jones          Formerly a frontier army sergeant, Jones was co-editor of The Signs of the Times and The American Sentinel. His theological emphases were perceived as a threat to some aspects of Adventist doctrine and traditional Scriptural interpretation.

 

Uriah Smith                Editor of The Review and Herald with offices in Battle Creek. Having been with the Review since the early 1850's, Smith had by 1888 served as its editor for nearly twenty-five years. Like Butler, he also viewed himself as guardian of theological orthodoxy.

 

Isaac Van Horn           President of the Michigan Conference from 1888 to 1891. Van Horn supported the conservative views of President Butler.

 

Ellet J. Waggoner       At 33 years, he was the youngest of the major contestants at Minneapolis. He earned an M. D. Degree in New York City in 1878, but became dissatisfied with medical practice and entered the ministry. His in-depth study of the Book of Galatians brought him into direct confrontation with the Smith-Butler forces at the 1888 Session.

 

Ellen White                Prophetess of the Adventist Church, Ellen White attended the Minneapolis Conference. She foresaw that a debate was inevitable, and gave public counsel on several occasions throughout the meetings.

 

William C. White       Son of Ellen White. Accompanied his mother in her travels to Eurpoe and Australia.

 

J. P. Henderson           Delegates to the Minneapolis General Conference.

J. H. Morrison

R. M. Kilgore

R. A. Underwood

 

Imaginary                   Jeremiah Wilson, Editor of Minneapolis Journal

Characters                  Gray, a reporter for the Minneapolis Journal

                                    Mrs. Willis, a secretary

                                    William Hersey and Several other unnamed delegates


THE NEWS FROM MINNEAPOLIS

 

SCENE 1. Office of Jeremiah Wilson, Editor, Minneapolis Journal, Minneapolis. Wilson is seated at his desk when there is a knock at the door.

 

Wilson:           Come in. (Enter a reporter, Mr. Gray.) Ah yes, Gray, I want t o talk to you about a new assignment.

 

Gray:              Good! (Sits) You want me to cover the federal election campaign?

 

Wilson:           Wrong! No, I’ve already assigned that. I’ve got something quite different for you to work on. Have you ever heard of the Seventh-day Adventists?

 

Gray:              (Ponders a moment.) Are they the people who have the Scandinavian church over on Sixth Street?

 

Wilson:           Right, but their main church is on the edge of town, on the corner of Lake Street and Fourth Avenue South. It’s the largest church they have, except for their head-quarters church in Battle Creek, Michigan. But the interesting thing is that the Seventh-day Adventists are coming to Minneapolis for their annual conference, starting next week.

 

Gray:              Really?

 

Wilson:           Yes. These Adventists are a strange people, Gray – they worship on Saturday instead of Sunday, they wash each other’s feet, they preach that the world is coming to an end real soon. There are only about 25,000 of them, but they have members all over the world. At this conference they will have representatives from several countries.

 

Gray:              They have quite a congregation of Scandinavians right here in Minneapolis.

 

Wilson:           They also have a prophetess, a Mrs. White, and I understand that she will be here for the conference.

 

Gray:              So you want me to cover this Seventh-day Adventist conference for the Journal?

 

Wilson:           Very astute, Gray! According to information I have, their conference will last about two weeks, starting October 17. I want you to report the conference on a day-to-day basis for our readers.

 

Gray:              Where can I go for the background information?

 

Wilson:           Well, I have a little inside information on the Adventists because I have a doctor friend in Chicago who is one of them. They publish two main journals. (Picks up copies.) This one is The Review and Herald – you could call it the official journal of the Adventists. It’s edited in Battle Creek by a man named Smith. This other one is The Signs of the Times. It is printed over in California, and one of its editors is a fell named Jones.

 

Gray:              So we have Smith in the east and Jones in the west.

 

Wilson:           That’s right, and from the little information I have, Smith and Jones don’t get along very well.

 

Gray:              In what way?

 

Wilson:           Well, it’s like this. In the east at Battle Creek you have the church leaders, older men like George Butler, the President of the Seventh-day Adventists, and Uriah Smith, the editor of their official paper here. You could call them the “Old Guard” of the church. Then out in the west, in California, you have two young men – in their thirties I believe – Jones and Waggoner. They edit The Signs of the Times, and print some ideas which the Old Guard doesn’t like.

 

Gray:              What kind of ideas?

 

Wilson:           I don’t know. That is something for you to find out, Gray. Whatever the issues are, they will probably show up during the conference.

 

Gray:              You have me interested, sir. I’ll take the assignment.

 

Wilson:           Good! Take these paper and see what clues you can get from them. And I’ll be looking for your stories once the conference gets under way.

 

Gray:              Thank you, sir. (Both get up and move off stage together.)


SCENE 2. The office of Uriah Smith, Editor, The Review and Herald in Battle Creek, Michigan. The scene opens with Uriah Smith and Elder Van Horn entering Smith’s office together. Smith waves Van Horn to a seat, and picks up paper from desk.

 

Smith:             Here is the copy of The Signs of the Times that I was telling you about, Brother Van Horn.

 

Van Horn:       (Takes copy and peruses it). Brother Smith, I am surprised and perplexed that Waggoner and Jones would publish this kind of thing so soon after the 1886 conference here in Battle Creek. Well, I guess this time it is Waggoner rather than Jones.

 

Smith:             Oh, they are both in it together. These two men are doing their best to split the church with their doctrinal heresies.

 

Van Horn:       Is Jones still pushing his views on the ten horns?

 

Smith:             Why, sure he is! For the last several years he has been teaching them to his Bible classes at Healdsburg College. We’ve believed for the last forty years that the Huns were on of the ten horns on the beast of Daniel 7. But Jones insists it was not the Hunts, but the Alamanni. It is an erroneous conclusion.

 

Van Horn:       Does he not recognize, Brother Smith, that you are the church’s authority on the Book of Daniel? Your Thoughts on Daniel have been in circulation for fifteen years now. Does Elder Jones not respect your authority?

 

Smith:             Jones has no authority but himself in these matters. But of course it’s Waggoner who is writing this new series in the Signs.

 

Van Horn:       With Waggoner it’s the question of the meaning of the law in Galatians, is it not? He is arguing that in Galatians Paul is talking about the moral law, while we as a church have always held that Paul is referring to the ceremonial law. That has been our position now for . . .

 

Smith:             For forty years, Brother Van Horn! And Elder Butler has answered all Waggoner’s false ideas in his pamphlet which we printed here at the Review two year’s ago. (Takes a booklet from shelf.) He shows conclusively that the law in Galatians is not the moral law, but the ceremonial law.

 

Van Horn:       If I am not mistaken, Elder Waggoner’s father, J. H. Waggoner, taught the same thing for a time, and Sister White came out firmly against it. That was back in the 1860's.

 

Smith:             How I wish that Sister White would come out again on the subject. If ever her words of reproof were needed, they are needed now. But she is silent on these matters. I have written several times to Sister White, and I know that Elder Butler has done the same, but we hear nothing.

 

Van Horn:       Why does the Lord stand by, and let these young men bring division in the church? I don’t understand.

 

Smith:             There are many things that we don’t understand, Brother Van Horn. But we must trust the Lord, even when we do not understand his ways. Perhaps He will yet speak through His servant, and correct these wrongs.

 

Van Horn:       I trust so, Brother Smith. Thank you for your time. I must be on my way.

 

Smith:             Goodbye, Brother Van Horn.

 

(Smith picks up the Signs again, and reads for a moment or two, shakes his head, and puts it down with a sigh. There is a knock, and Elder Butler comes into the office.) Elder Butler, it’s good to see you this afternoon. Please sit down. (Butler is obviously upset about something.)

 

Butler:            I trust that I haven’t interrupted you unduly, Brother Smith, but there is something that I must share with you. It is something which I could not share with anyone else.

 

Smith:             I can see that something is on your mind, Elder Butler.

 

Butler:            Excuse me, Brother Smith, but I do feel upset at this moment. (Pause) How should I begin? You are too well aware, Brother Smith, of Brother Waggoner’s teaching and writing concerning the law in Galatians, and how he has used every avenue possible to publish his views.

 

Smith:             Indeed, Elder Butler! Why, Elder Van Horn was here with me just a few minutes ago, and we were discussing that very thing, and how well your own little book answers every false teaching.

 

Butler:            I should never have allowed that book to be printed.

 

Smith:             Whatever do you mean by that?

 

Butler:            This morning I received a letter from Sister White. I have it here with me. It is too long to read all of it to you, and much of it is special counsel on various matters. But Sister Whit has sharply reprimanded me for my position regarding the law in Galatians. Let me read you just a little of what she says:

 

“I have been reading your pamphlet. The principles that you refer to are right, but I cannot see how this can harmonize with your pointed remarks to Dr. Waggoner. I think you are too sharp. I want to see no Pharisaism among us. The matter now has been brought so fully before the people by yourself as well as Dr. Waggoner, that it must be met fairly and squarely in open discussion. I see no other way. You circulated your pamphlet; now it is only fair that Dr. Waggoner should have the same chance you have had. I think the whole thing is not in God’s order. But we must have no unfairness.” [Ellen White, Lt. 13, 1887]

 

Smith:             I consider that you have been most fair, Elder Butler. After all, Brother Waggoner has been publishing his views for at least two years now in the pages of the Signs. I do not see wherein is the unfairness.

 

Butler:            (Stands and speaks heatedly.) For my part I am about sick to death of this policy in which young fledglings who have just got seated in the editorial chair can attack any point of faith without the least hesitation, no matter how long it has been settled! Brother Smith, forgive me. I have no right to be going on like this. (Sits again.) But these are settled matters of doctrine!

 

Smith:             I hardly know what to say.

 

Butler:            I have said enough. I must be on my way, and you have much work to attend to. But I fear what will take place when our General Conference meets in Minneapolis.

 

Smith:             I share the same fear, Elder Butler. Many of our people will take sides in matters of this sort. It is not a pleasant prospect.

 

Butler:            Brother Smith, your support means much to me. Please pray for me. I must be on my way. (Both exit.)


SCENE 3. Editorial office of E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones, co-editors, The Signs of the Times, Oakland, California. Waggoner enters, removes his hat and coat, and takes his seat at his desk. Moments later his secretary, Mrs. Willis, enters.

 

Willis:             Good morning, Elder Waggoner. Have you checked the proof for your new book on Galatians?

 

Waggoner:      Good morning, Mr. Willis. Yes, here it is. (Hands it to her.) I want to have this printed as soon as possible. I want to take copies with me when I got to Minneapolis for the General Conference – at least enough for all the delegates.

 

Willis:             Thank you. Oh, and here is a letter for you. (Hands him a letter, then leaves.)

 

Waggoner:      A letter from Switzerland? (Opens letter.) Why, this must be from Sister White. (Reads letter. After a few moments, Jones enters, carrying an opened letter.) Good morning, Alonzo. I’ve just received a letter from Sister. White.

 

Jones:              Oh, you too? She has probably sent identical letters to both of us.

 

Waggoner:      What do you make of it then?

 

Jones:              Well, she is certainly disturbed because the Signs and the Review are not saying the same thing. As editors of The Signs of the Times, you and I have been at least mildly censured. Did you read what she said here?:

 

“You should never have pursued the course you have, in advancing your ideas in the Signs. Especially at this time should differences be repressed. These young men are more self-confident and less cautious than they should be.” [Ellen White, Lt. 37, 1887]


                        Well, so much for your series of articles on the book of Galatians!

 

Waggoner:      And yours on the ten horns!

 

Jones:              I don’t find horns mentioned anywhere in the letter.

 

Waggoner:      Nor do I find any objection to our position concerning the law in Galatians. Seriously, though, Sister White is concerned that as a church we present a united front to the world. She remembers how my father, J. H. Waggoner, used to love debate and discussion, and she believes that I have inherited his method of attack. And she is right, Alonzo. This is something I must consider prayerfully.

 

Jones:              I need the same admonition. But you can’t just bury truth and forget about it. I am convinced from my study that Elder Smith’s conclusions about the horns of Daniel 7 are quite wrong. Quite erroneous! Does that mean that I should pretend he is right, and say nothing about it? I can’t accept that!

 

Waggoner:      Nowhere in this letter does Sister White say that what we are teaching is false. I haven’t read that. She does say that everything we do and say must be Christlike, and reflect love and concern for the flock.

 

Jones:              So what about your new book on Galatians? And your plans to lecture on the Law and the Gospel at the coming Minneapolis conference?

 

Waggoner:      Well, my book has already gone to press. And to answer your second question – yes, I will go ahead with my plans for the series at Minneapolis, but by God’s grace I will place the emphasis on Jesus Christ and the Gospel in Galatians, rather than on the law.

 

(As the scene ends, and Waggoner and Jones leave the stage, the voice of Ellen White is heard, off-stage)

 

Voice of          “As you shall assemble together at this general meeting, I beseech you to

Ellen White    remember that we are one in faith in the fundamental truths of God’s Word. Harmony and cooperation must be maintained without compromising one principle of truth. While constantly digging for the truth as for hidden treasure, be careful how you open new and conflicting opinions. There is danger of our ministers dwelling too much on doctrines, preaching altogether too many discourses on argumentative subjects, when their own souls need practical godliness. The correct interpretation of Scripture is not all that God requires. He enjoins upon us that we should not only know the truth, but that we should practice the truth.” [Ellen White, Letter 20, 1888]


SCENE 4. The interior of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Minneapolis. The scene opens as delegates arrive for the meeting, sometimes greeting each other, while others prepare the rostrum for the opening session. Reporter Gray from the Minneapolis Journal appears on the scene, and stops one of the delegates, Elder Hottel, on the floor in front of the stage.

 

Gray:              Good Morning, Sir, my name is Gray, and I’m a reporter from the Minneapolis Journal. I take it you are here for the opening session of this conference?

 

Hottel:            That’s right. My name is Hottel, Dewitt Hottel.

 

Gray:              Where do you come from, Mr. Hottel?

 

Hottel:            I am a Seventh-day Adventist minister from Quicksburg, Virginia. I arrived here in Minneapolis last week. We’ve been attending a Ministerial Institute for the past week.

 

Gray:              I see. And you are an official delegate to this conference?

 

Hottel:            Yes. I am one of nearly one hundred delegates, and I represent the Virginia Conference.

 

Gray:              Are you staying in one of the hotels here in town?

 

Hottel:            No, no. Most of the delegates are being houses in a boarding hall or in private homes.

 

Gray:              I see many tents pitched, army-fashion, across the street.

 

Hottel:            That’s right. Some delegates are staying in those too. I am one of the luck ones.

 

Gray:              Where do you get meals, Mr. Hottel?

 

Hottel:            We take our meals in the big dining room across the street. And they are good meals, too. This morning we had oatmeal porridge, and piles of Graham Bread.

 

Gray:              Well, I see the meeting is ready to begin. Thank you for allowing me to talk to you, sir. Have a good day.

 

(Both men find seats as the session is ready to begin. On the platform are the following: Uriah Smith (at a table), Stephen Haskell, Elder Grant, W. C. White, and Ellen White. Smith calls the meeting to order.)

 

Smith:             Brethren, it is time to begin our conference session. This is the 27th Annual Session of the General Conference, and we are most happy to welcome a record number of delegates to this Session – ninety-six in all have been seated. (Amens) You have come from far and near for this most important gathering, and we warmly welcome you to Minneapolis.

 

Most unfortunately, our president, Elder Butler, is unable to be here at this conference, due to illness. It is distressing to him that he cannot be here today. We request your prayers on his behalf, and if the Lord so wills, he may be able to come for the later part of our conference. In his absence, it falls my lot as conference secretary to welcome you this morning, and to declare this 27th Annual Session open.

 

I will introduce the members of our rostrum party this morning. Here on my left is Elder Haskell, who has recently returned from pioneer evangelistic work in England. Before that he helped to start the work in Australia. Sister White, I believe, needs no introduction, but we are glad that she was able to come from California to attend these meetings. Prior to that she spent two years in Europe. Seated beside Sister White is her son, Elder W. C. White, who will have our prayer this morning. On my far right is Elder Grant, who is the President of the Minnesota Conference, our host conference for this session.

 

Let us open our meeting by singing together No. 191 in Hymns and Tunes – “Revive us Again.”


                        (The audience join in singing the hymn.)

 

W. C. White:  We invite the congregation to kneel in prayer. (All kneel.) Lord, we kneel in Thy presence today as delegates and believers from all over the world. Thy work is ever onward, and for its progress we praise Thee. (Amens)

 

Lord, we pray for Thy blessing on this great conference session, that the plans we make here may be in harmony with Thy will. (Amens) In a special way we pray for our president, Elder Butler. Thou knowest that he is sick at this time, and we pray that Thy hand of healing may be upon him. (Amens) We ask all this in the name of Jesus, Amen.

 

Grant:             As President of the Minnesota Conference, I wish to add my warm welcome to each delegate to this General Conference Session. (Pause) At this time, our offering for missions will be taken. Our work beyond the shores of America is onward. Let us give to support it.


                        (The offering is taken.)

 

Smith:             In the absence of our president, Elder Butler, I have asked Elder Haskell to chair our conference session. Elder Haskell, we welcome you to the desk this morning.

 

Haskell:          Thank you, Elder Smith. May I also say welcome to the delegates this morning. Most of you have come long distances to be here today, and we trust that you are comfortable, whether on bunks in the hall across the street, or on camp cots in the tents.

 

Our program will be a full one. We have much business to do, and there are many excellent meetings planned. Sister White will have the early morning devotional period at 5:30 each morning. I am sure no one will miss those meetings. Elder Waggoner will also have a series on the law and gospel in Galatians.

 

This opening Session will be short, as we have only one or two items of business to take care of. First, we have a petition from the newly organized Arkansas Conference to be admitted into membership of the General Conference. Elder Henderson represents the Arkansas members. Would you stand, Elder Henderson? Would you like to move that the Arkansas Conference be welcomed into the General Conference?

 

Henderson:     I so move, brother chairman.

 

W. C. White:  I will second the motion.

 

Haskell:          It has been moved and seconded. All in favor please show by the uplifted hand. (All delegates raise hands) That is carried. We welcome the Arkansas Conference into membership.

 

(At this time, a delegate hands a telegram to Uriah Smith, who is seated at the secretary’s table.)

 

Now we also have a petition from the Australian Conference for membership. Our work in Australia began only three years ago, and already there have been several hundred baptisms. (Several amens) As one of the pioneer missionaries to Australia, I will move the acceptance of Australia into our sisterhood of Conferences.

 

Grant:             Second the motion.

 

Haskell:          Thank you, Elder Grant. All in favor, show by the uplifted hand. (Hands raised.) Thank you, that is carried. May the Lord continue to bless our work in Australia. (Amens)

 

That completes our short agenda this morning. At this time we will take a short break, and then reassemble for a discussion meeting. (Smith hands Hsakell the telegram.) Oh, here is one more item. Elder Smith has just handed me a telegram from our president, Elder Butler. It reads very simply: “Stand by the old landmarks, brethren!” (Amens from some delegates.)

 

(While the platform party reorganizes, there is a short break, as delegates move about and greet one another. Reporter Gray is immediately on the scene, and interviews another Adventist, William Hersey, on the floor at front of stage.)

 

Gray:              Excuse me, sir, I’m from the Minneapolis Journal. What is your name?

 

Hersey:           William Hersey. I’m a rancher from California.

 

Gray:              California! You have certainly come a long way to attend this conference. Tell me, what in your opinion are the main issues for discussion at this conference?

 

Hersey:           The Huns versus the Alamanni.

 

Gray:              (Puzzled) Sounds like a ball game to me.

 

Hersey:           The horns of Daniel 7.

 

Gray:              Horns? Oh, I thought you said Huns.

 

Hersey:           I did say Huns. Some say that the Huns were one of the horns. Elder Uriah Smith teaches that.

 

Gray:              Do you believe that?

 

Hersey:           No, no! I’m not a Hunt, I’m an Alamanni. I believe that the Alamanni were on of the horns, not the Huns. So that makes me an Alamanni.

 

Gray:              Who teaches that?

 

Hersey:           Elder Jones does. He really knows his Bible.

 

(At this moment, Waggoner comes by on his way to the platform, and stops to greet Hersey and Gray.)

 

Waggoner:      Good morning, brethren, and welcome to the conference.

 

Hersey:           Good morning, Dr. Waggoner.

 

Waggoner:      We’re so glad that you’re here. (Waggoner moves on.)

 

Gray:              You called him Doctor Waggoner. Is he a Doctor of Divinity then?

 

Hersey:           No, no! You couldn’t be a Doctor of Divinity and a Seventh-day Adventist at the same time. No, he was trained as a medical doctor, but believe me, Elder Waggoner is a great Bible student.

 

Gray:              I think I saw a book on sale, which he has written. Something on Galatians.

 

Hersey:           That’s right. About the law in Galatians. There is disagreement as to which law is mentioned in Galatians 3, but Elder Waggoner says it is the moral law.

 

Gray:              The moral law? (Pause) Is the other one the immoral law?

 

Hersey:           No, the other one is the ceremonial law.

 

Gray:              Why do Seventh-day Adventists talk so much about laws?

 

Hersey:           Well, the law of God is the foundation of our message. The Sabbath truth is based on the law of God, and we must keep the commandments in order to be saved.

 

(The meeting is now ready to resume, and Haskell’s voice from the rostrum interrupts the conversation.)

 

Haskell:          We would like you all to take your seats, brethren, so that we may begin our meeting. (Pauses) We have some new people here on the platform – Elder Uriah Smith you already know, and Sister White. We also have Elder A. T. Jones, and Elder Waggoner.

 

                        Elder Smith will introduce our discussion session this morning. I need hardly remind you that Elder Smith is an authority on the prophecies of Daniel. His book Thoughts on Daniel is very well known. He is of course well qualified to discuss the meaning of the horns on the beast of Daniel 7. Elder Smith.

 

Smith:             Thank you for that introduction, Elder Haskell. You mention the horns of Daniel 7, but really that topic is an unnecessary one, and tends to argument. I don’t claim any special authority concerning the horns. You see, the Millerites years ago identified all ten of the horns, and their view has stood the test for forty years. My study has merely confirmed their conclusion.

 

Henderson:     (From audience, stands.) Let’s hear what Elder Jones has to say on the horns.

 

Smith:             I have no objection to that. Brother Jones? (Smith sits down, and Jones steps to the desk.)

 

Jones:              I’m certainly happy to comment on the horns. Elder Smith has just admitted to us that he is not really an authority on the ten horns. I want to assure you that I have given this subject a great deal of study, and I can make up for Elder Smith’s ignorance on the topic.

 

Ellen White:   (Stands and steps forward.) Brother Jones, your manner of speaking distresses me. Whatever your knowledge may be on this subject, I do not believe it is in order for you to cast aspersions upon others. (To audience) Brethren, we need to respect one another, and treat one another with brotherly love. There is much I could say on this subject, but I will say no more at this time. (Sits)


                        (Jones is about to continue, but Haskell comes forward.)

 

Haskell:          Thank you, Brother Jones. Brethren, I wonder if we might come back to the topic of Daniel 7 in a later meeting. I wish we could each consider the question prayerfully, and be prepared to come with an open mind. (Jones returns to seat.) I know that Elder Jones is scheduled to speak on this topic later in the conference. Elder Waggoner is on the platform this morning, and I will ask him to take a little time to introduce his series of meetings on the Book of Galatians. Would you do that, Elder Waggoner?

 

Waggoner:      Thank you, Elder Haskell. In preparing this series on the Book of Galatians, I have spent much time in prayer and soul-searching. There has been much controversy among us as a people concerning the law that Paul speaks about in Galatians chapter 3. I want to say right here that my discussions will center on the gospel message in Galatians. It is not my wish to cause controversy, but rather to point us all to Jesus Christ, who must become the central point of our preaching. (Few amens.) I propose to spend several meetings on the beautiful doctrine of justification by faith as Paul presents it in Galatians.

 

Morrison:        (From audience, stands.) Elder Waggoner tells us that he intends to preach about justification by faith. I have no fault with that. I could enjoy his preaching on that subject, but many of us know that all this is just paving the way for the presentation of his position on the law in Galatians. Elder Waggoner’s view on that subject is well known, and out of harmony with the church’s teaching of the past forty years! (Some loud amens as he sits.)

 

Kilgore:          (From audience, stands.) I agree with Elder Morrison. As you all know, Elder Butler is detained at Battle Creek on account of illness and cannot be here until later on. I would like to move that we stop any discussion on the much vaunted doctrine of justification by fa