New Book Uncovers the Adventist Relationship with Fundamentalism

Michael W. Campbell talks about his new book on the 1919 Bible Conference, arguments over the infallibility of Ellen G. White, and how the Fundamentalist Movement has shaped Adventism.

Question: In 1979, Spectrum was the first to publish the “lost” transcripts from the 1919 Bible Conference, where the inspiration of Ellen G. White was candidly discussed and argued over by a group of influential Adventist theologians and academics. You have studied the 1919 Bible Conference extensively for many years and your new book 1919: The Untold Story of Adventism’s Struggle with Fundamentalism explores this event and its aftermath in even more detail. Why do you feel this event one hundred years ago deserves greater scrutiny and examination with a new book?

Answer: The first time I became aware of the 1919 transcripts was when my professor at Southern Adventist University, Ben McArthur, had us read the transcripts as published in Spectrum for a senior history methods class. Subsequently, as Dr. McArthur assigned senior history projects, he had me work further on this epochal event.

I believe the 1919 Bible Conference continues to have relevance because it lifts the curtains upon a crucial conversation our church leaders had about the nature of revelation and inspiration, and in particular, the relationship of Seventh-day Adventism to Fundamentalism. Most concerning for me is how Adventist thought leaders during the time surrounding the 1919 Bible Conference, in their opposition to Modernism, embraced the rising Fundamentalist movement. This largely uncritical embrace of Fundamentalism proved to be extremely problematic for Adventism.

Tell us what you think were the most significant discussions of the 1919 Bible Conference.

The bulk of the 1919 Bible Conference transcripts concerns how to interpret Bible prophecy. Many people would quickly lose interest over the rather technical and cumbersome discussions, but they had relevance for Adventists right after World War I. Of particular note during this global conflagration was that some Adventist evangelists, who predicted the role of Turkey as fulfilling Daniel 11, found themselves embarrassed when the British defeated the Ottoman Empire, which meant that they were wrong and furthermore lost credibility (even if some church leaders had tried to squelch such an interpretation). Adventist church leaders realized that they needed to fine tune their eschatological understanding.

At the 1919 Bible Conference these discussions about prophetic interpretation turned to Ellen White’s writings in order to resolve their differences. This led to four pivotal discussions about the nature and authority of Ellen White’s writings — the first major discussions since her death four years earlier — for which the 1919 Bible Conference has become so well known.

As important as these discussions about Ellen White were, they also demonstrate the influence of the rising historical Fundamentalist movement. In the Adventist enthusiasm to reject Modernism and evolution, Adventists uncritically embraced inerrancy and other problematic aspects of Fundamentalism.

The memorable discussions between history and Bible teachers at the end of the meeting with church president A. G. Daniells reveal that at least some teachers recognized that if Adventism adopted a rigid view of inspiration that this was incompatible with the traditional stance about revelation and inspiration, particularly as applied to Ellen White’s prophetic ministry.

Why were questions over the nature of Ellen White’s inspiration important to the Adventist Church in 1919? If this discussion was so significant, why wasn’t it discussed more before the 1970s?

These discussions about Ellen White’s inspiration were pivotal because they demonstrate two different ways of interpreting inspired writings. This was the first time that I am aware of when Adventists began to self-identify as “progressives” versus the “traditionalists” (the proverbial liberals versus the conservatives) in Adventist history.

During these meetings one participant recognized that if they didn’t do a better job educating the church that there would be trouble in the future — this statement haunts me — and sure enough, after 1919 the Adventist Church tilted toward Fundamentalism.

While this has not been uniform — one can see in the 1950s a parallel between the rising Evangelical movement following the ministry of Billy Graham (a group of moderates) — once again Adventists paralleled this development within Adventism, and discussions with key Evangelical leaders led to the publication of Questions on Doctrine. In a way, this struggle with Fundamentalism (and later Evangelicalism) has characterized most of Adventist theology all the way up to the present.

How did the transcripts come to be lost in the General Conference Archives?

My personal view is that the transcripts of the 1919 Bible Conference were simply forgotten. It is the kind of historical event that only becomes significant with the passing of time. This conference marked a very intimate moment so soon after the death of Ellen White when the church was at a crossroads — after which it effectively embraced Fundamentalism.

If the denomination “flirted” with Fundamentalism in 1919, during the 1920s it grew into a full-fledged affair. The main leader at the 1919 Bible Conference was then church president, A. G. Daniells, who by 1922 was removed from the church’s top post. As the church became increasingly Fundamentalist, particularly during the 1920s, the 1919 Bible Conference was simply forgotten. None of the participants felt it was necessary to leave behind memory statements, or believed it important to share with others that they were at this meeting.

The records were relegated to the basement of church headquarters, and remained there, until Don Yost [director of the General Conference Archives 1973-1995] stumbled across them. Discussions about revelation and inspiration in the 1970s suddenly made this much earlier conference very significant once again.

When the transcripts were discovered, why were they not published earlier? Were they seen as so controversial and potentially damaging to the church that only an independent publication like Spectrum could publish them?

I was fortunate to interview both Don Yost, who founded the GC Archives, and Don Mansell, who was working for the White Estate at the time the transcripts were found. As I understand it from conversations with the two of them, Don Mansell first noticed several published references in the Review and Herald about the 1919 Bible Conference as he was doing research for the very first edition of the Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia (that came out in 1976). They planned to eventually distribute copies to Adventist research centers, but a copy was leaked, and Spectrum published it before they could make the transcripts available. It seems there was an effort to control how people would learn about this event, and gradually make people aware of it, so Yost and Mansell were rather chagrined when the most scintillating parts (at the end) about Ellen White were published in Spectrum.

When I interviewed the late Roy Branson, who was the editor of Spectrum during this time, he confirmed the same story although he did say that no one specifically told him he was not allowed to publish them either!

I dare say that the publication of those transcripts in Spectrum may be the most significant, or at least one of the very most significant things, that Spectrum has ever done. I’ve done a number of oral histories with influential church leaders from this time period who mention that when these transcripts were released it fell like a bombshell upon Adventism. It seems that within Adventist Fundamentalism a mythology had developed that Ellen White was an individual who was 100 years ahead of her time, when in fact, she was very much a product of her time. In other words, some individuals had stressed the supernatural aspects of her prophetic ministry to the exclusion of the very human element.

When Spectrum published these transcripts, it forced Adventist leaders to recognize that a much earlier generation of Adventist thinkers had wrestled with the same issues, and that, therefore, there was a great deal more complexity to this matter of revelation and inspiration than what appeared on the surface.

One other way it made a difference is that it forced Adventist historians to re-write Adventist historiography — something that we see has impacted the narrative of our Adventist past whether that is Herbert Douglass on the far right (with his textbook, Messenger of the Lord) to Ronald L. Numbers who re-published the transcripts in the third edition of his book, Prophetess of Health on the other side. Most recently, George Knight has included it as a chapter in his thoughtful study, Ellen White’s Afterlife, which every Adventist ought to read.

Do the transcripts tell the whole story of the meetings? Do you think anything important has been left out?

The transcripts are at best only a partial record of the meetings. Of the more than 2,000 pages, approximately 1,300 are actually unique (that is, not duplicates of other pages in the records). We also know that at certain points the transcriptionists were directed to stop recording the minutes (because they included the request in the transcribed minutes!). In my estimation, we have less than a quarter to one-third of the 1919 Bible Conference, which means we have to extend a certain sense of humility by recognizing that, like all history, we have a limited view of what occurred at this historic event. With that caveat, it is amazing what a rich treasure trove the minutes actually are.

I should also mention that it appears to me, as I sorted through the originals, that someone removed some of the minutes. For example, the records at the General Conference are missing any presentations by B. G. Wilkinson, but interestingly enough, at least a small amount surfaced in the records of the Center for Adventist Research at Andrews University. How they showed up there is a mystery, but apparently someone preserved them, and I recognized in going through some papers that these were some small portions from the 1919 transcripts that appeared in another collection. Now there are some notes in the minutes that Wilkinson apparently removed some material to review at some future point after the conference. Why he did this is unknown, but it does serve as a reminder that the transcripts are partial at best.

How did you first become interested in studying the 1919 Bible Conference? What form has your study taken?

After my experience as an undergraduate student at Southern that I already mentioned, I came back to the topic in graduate school. At the time I was thinking about a topic in twentieth-century Adventism since so much of Adventist history has been focused on the time period encompassing Ellen White’s lifespan. I also had become very interested in scholarship on Fundamentalism, having participated in a seminar by George M. Marsden at the University of Notre Dame. This challenged me to think about Adventist history in new and challenging ways.

As I continued to work with my adviser at the time, George Knight, he encouraged me to focus on one critical moment of the Adventist saga with Fundamentalism, noting that I had the rest of my career to flesh out the rest of the contours. So, I returned to my research, this time in much greater depth, on the 1919 Bible Conference as the focus of my PhD dissertation.

I decided, as we approach the centennial, to distill some of the most important findings into a small, approachable book so that the average church member — who may not be familiar with all of the little details — can hopefully learn about this important event from our Adventist past.

Your books and articles about the 1919 Bible Conference provide much of the information and scholarship around the topic. What points have you tried to make to people about 1919? What do you want everyone to know and understand?

I think one of the most important points is the danger of theological polarization. Both sides at the 1919 Bible Conference were much closer to one another than either one would have liked to admit, and at the end of the day, they had far more in common than they did in terms of their differences. Sadly, those who are closest to us can be the most difficult to get along with, and this proved true for Adventism at the 1919 Bible Conference. George Knight once said that there should be an eleventh commandment: Thou shall not do theology against thy neighbor. When we do theology by fighting others sometimes we push ourselves into the opposite extreme. This seems to be what happened in 1919 when church leaders “flirted” with the rising Fundamentalist movement.

As Adventism became increasingly Fundamentalist this had far-reaching consequences for Adventism in terms of race and gender, as well as theology (it paved the way for the promulgation of Last Generation Theology). And as we know, race and gender have been the two dominant issues over which Adventism continues to struggle with up to the present day. So, I think there are many significant lessons that can be gleaned from 1919 and its aftermath, but most important of all, how we do theology matters and has far-reaching implications for the whole church.

Are you still making new discoveries and gaining new insights about 1919? Has your thinking about the conference changed at all over the years?

Absolutely! I love to learn new things and have made a number of significant discoveries since working on this as the focus of my dissertation. Some of the most helpful recent discoveries were made while I was facilitating a doctoral seminar on Adventism and Fundamentalism while at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies (AIIAS) where I served for five years previous to teaching at Southwestern Adventist University. I think that global perspectives are really important, and I had a terrific cohort of students from around the globe. I think we need to be thinking more about how we do Adventist theology from a global perspective. And I’ve discovered that the issues raised in 1919 continue to resonate around the world.

As I reflect on my dissertation, the most significant expansion I have done is the chapter on the Trinity. While I discussed it in my dissertation, the 1919 Bible Conference was a watershed event and instead of listing it as one of several minor issues, I reserved an entire chapter in my book to talk about the Trinity because it is far more significant than I realized. (Perhaps also because in the world church there has been a resurgence of anti-Trinitarianism, too.)

I’m spending more of my time now examining Adventist theology between the World Wars (1918-1939), which I think is a crucial time period for the development of Adventist theology. The historical Fundamentalist movement was far more nuanced, with thinkers within the movement spanning a continuum. Adventist progressives never embraced Modernism or a liberal variety of Christianity, but they do parallel the more moderate Fundamentalists. Similarly, we see those who became much more rigid over inerrancy on the right who again parallel similar trends within Adventist traditionalists. Both sides of Adventism saw themselves aligned with the rising Fundamentalist movement, even if some of the pivotal discussions in 1919 also reveal that at least some recognized this would be increasingly problematic for Adventism in the future. In many ways, my work on 1919 has pushed me to more critically examine the Adventist struggle with Fundamentalism, and the influence of ideas and culture upon Adventism.

What does your new book offer that previous coverage of the 1919 Bible Conference has failed to?

I have tried to take the best of my dissertation research, along with additional research and reflection over the past decade and distill it down to a book one can easily read on a Sabbath afternoon. In contrast to other research that has been done before, my book tries to provide more historical context, both within as well as outside of Adventism. By situating this meeting within this larger milieu, one can better grasp the Adventist struggle with Fundamentalism.

Similarly, the discussions about Ellen White need to be understood as the last of four pivotal conversations about Ellen White during the meeting. Once again, context is absolutely essential.

Has the form and style of our discussion changed since 1919 or is it similar? How about the content?

Obviously, the personalities and issues raised at the 1919 Bible Conference have long ago faded away. The list of obscure eschatological topics debated would quickly make most people yawn and lose interest. Yet underlying these issues were two different ways of interpreting inspired writings — two different hermeneutics — that became self-evident during the 1919 Bible Conference. These two hermeneutical schools within Adventism — as close as they were to one another — polarized each other and formed the basis for every major theological conflict within the Seventh-day Adventist Church up to the present.

There appears to have been a rationale that if church leaders could essentially lock up the leading thought leaders of the denomination — the editors, Bible and history teachers, along with some key administrators — that by the time the meetings concluded they would all be united and thus be able to finish the work so that Jesus would come. This may seem somewhat naïve today but was very much a real strategy at that time.

The nascent Fundamentalist movement was extremely successful, during World War I, at holding prophecy conferences that drew the attention of thousands to the Second Coming. Adventist Church leaders seemed a little bit jealous that the Fundamentalists were able to do this, and wondered why Adventism was not more successful at warning the world about the Second Coming. On one level, the 1919 Bible Conference can be seen as an Adventist version of these Fundamentalist prophetic conferences. They hoped that if they were successful at agreeing over their eschatological differences that this would be the first of many such conferences that would be modeled after the rising Fundamentalist movement. This was the vision that church president A. G. Daniells cast during his opening remarks at the 1919 Bible Conference.

Do you still have more to study about the 1919 Bible Conference? Now that this book has been published, what are your next projects and goals?

There is always more work that can be done. Eventually I would like to produce a more extensive version with an academic press more broadly focused on the Adventist struggle with Fundamentalism that extends after the 1919 Bible Conference.

At the moment I’m working on several writing projects. Perhaps the most fun is a companion volume to the Ellen White Pocket Dictionary titled simply the Pocket Dictionary of Adventist Beliefs and Lifestyle. It will provide a brief glossary of Adventist jargon as a theological guide, and other helpful material, particularly for new believers, but hopefully with enough depth (and humor!) so that even the lifelong Adventist will be delighted by it.

I’m getting close to finishing a textbook on Adventist history with Ed Allen from Union College.

Perhaps the most significant project is a dream I have had to produce a major one-volume reference work with a major university press that could serve as an introductory guide to learn about Seventh-day Adventism. Such a project is unique and has never been done before. It would be both broad in scope, yet concise and comprehensive, encompassing all aspects of Adventism, and contain contributions by a wide range of scholars, including a number of influential Adventist and non-Adventist academics. I am delighted to report that we are now under contract and we expect to have an official news release about the project in the near future.

Buy 1919: The Untold Story of Adventism’s Struggle with Fundamentalism from the Adventist Book Center or on Amazon in paperback or Kindle format.

Alita Byrd is interviews editor for Spectrum.

Photo courtesy of Michael W. Campbell.

More information about the 1919 Bible Conference, including the minutes and an essay on the topic by George R. Knight, can be found in Spectrum’s first issue of 2019. Current subscribers click here to access the online version. Not already subscribed? Click here to subscribe now and include a comment that you’d like your subscription to begin with issue 47-1!

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9702
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Fundamentalism is not Fundamental. It takes the every first temptation and makes it the core of its system…”Ye shall be as God” They anticipate congratulations rather than exhibiting Gratitude, The result is insufferable egotism and harshness toward all others. A purge mentality rather than healing relationship.

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"“During these meetings one participant recognized that if they didn’t do a better job educating the church that there would be trouble in the future — this statement haunts me — and sure enough, after 1919 the Adventist Church tilted toward Fundamentalism.”"emphasized text

Going to take some time to unpack this as they say, needless to say this article has mastered the art of using the straw man argument.
fun·da·men·tal·ism.
[ˌfəndəˈmen(t)lˌizəm
NOUN
a form of a religion, especially Islam or Protestant Christianity, that upholds belief in the strict, literal interpretation of scripture.

Sister White went to sleep in 1915 and in four years time we had so changed in religious perspective and understanding of our believes that our fundamentalist paradigm view had become even more fundamentalist? If there ever was a protestant Christian organization that was a pure fundamentalist church it was the SDA church from 1888-1915. I start with 1888 because not all the important doctrines on Christ nature had been settled, but it was really fundamentalist in origin from 1844.

IN that pivotal year of 1919 we had become fundamentalist.

This is rich.

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The early Adventists also thought they were doing theology in that perspective. They did what was right in their own eyes. Maybe they forgot what Jesus said about not to worry what to tell or say because the Holy Spirit will teach them. Year after year, meetings were made by Adventists. Maybe because.of the absence of the guidance of the HS? :sweat_smile:

As I read the 1919 Conference I read an emphasis on Scripture over Ellen White. The Trend To Me was to give a lesser role to her writings and counsel. The theme seems to be take her with a grain of salt. Let us get back to John and Paul. Ithink the GC President said it all when he said I saw Desire of Ages being written. It was prophetic of the White Lie.

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Fundamentalism is a horrible spiritual disease that eventually may kill a movement. Because it offers a product that cannot be delivered.

Posthumous Recognition

I feel obligated to mention that it was a Spectrumite, the late Aage Rendalen, who in 1974 discovered the “lost”… (hidden???) copy of the 1919 Conference minutes at the AU library. He then made a few copies with his own money and distributed them on campus. The worms jumped quickly out of the can, and nobody could contain the “inconvenient truth” from going public.

I don’t believe that the GC and the fundamentalists in the Church will ever like Aage… We love him here; he was a great contributor, a courageous intellectual giant, an open minded thinker, and a friendly Spectrumite. We miss him, don’t we?

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Adventism is built on parsing the eschatological signs of the times and its attendant boogey men. Evangelicalism does the same in its own way. Meanwhile, Jesus said to those of his day who were also eagerly seeking the signs of the kingdom that they couldn’t read the signs of the times, that the kingdom of God was right in front of their noses and they couldn’t see it, and that the only sign they would be given was the sign of Jonah.

What could that mean for us? How about that wherever the crucified and risen Christ is proclaimed and shared in word and deed, wherever broken people are made whole, wherever the fruit of God’s Spirit of love and joy and peace is evident, wherever a diverse group of people are brought together by his Spirit, wherever forgiveness and reconciliation with God and one another is happening in his name, and wherever justice and mercy are overcoming injustice and oppression, there is the kingdom, and there is the eschatological sign we need of its fullness to come… no matter what denominational label it falls under.

We don’t need to worry about the latest natural disasters, whether the Pope sneezes in our direction, or if a one world government conspiracy is happening. Adventism, like evangelicalism, has majored in a fundamentalist reading of Revelation and the signs of the times, and misses the gospel itself and its power as the true eschatological sign of God’s new creation breaking into this world.

I believe that neither we, nor the 1919 conference, have gone far enough in reevaluating our belief system.

Thanks…

Frank

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Seventh-day Adventists in 1919 did not understand linguistics, did not understand that there is such a thing as linguistics, and were unfamiliar with the pioneering work of Ferdinand de Saussure. James Barr did not write his groundbreaking Semantics of Biblical Language, which builds on the work of de Saussure, until 1961. Consequently, as shown by Alberto Timm in his important essay, Seventh-day Adventists have struggled for over 150 years with thought/word inspiration issues and Ellen White’s famous statement that the thoughts and not the words of Scripture are divinely inspired. Except for a few of us, that struggle continues today.

Seventh-day Adventists in 1919 did not understand what law is, did not understand that there are different theories about what law is, and were unfamiliar with The Path of the Law written by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in 1897. Consequently, Seventh-day Adventists have struggled in their understanding of God’s law, typically thinking that God’s law is formalistic, eternal, universal, transcendent, unchanging, and absolute rather than realistic, provisional, historically-conditioned, messy and practical, ever-evolving, and a matter of experience rather than logic. The discredited Legal Formalism is so imbedded in the subculture of Seventh-day Adventism that the teaching of Legal Realism must be done so cautiously and delicately to ensure that Seventh-day Adventists are not shaken in their faith.

Seventh-day Adventists in 1919 did not understand historicism (not the method of interpreting prophecy but the awareness that all knowledge is of a historical character), did not understand that Scripture is historically-conditioned, and were totally unfamiliar with the writers of the Counter-Enlightenment. Consequently, Seventh-day Adventists have struggled in their interpretation of Scripture, have not possessed what the hermeneutics literature refers to as historical consciousness, and have paid more attention to the words of Scripture rather than the historical context that informs the meaning of those words.

Seventh-day Adventist theology remains pre-hermeneutical. The failure of Seventh-day Adventists to understand hermeneutics continues today. There are not more than ten Seventh-day Adventists in the world who understand hermeneutics. Seventh-day Adventists unconsciously superimpose upon Scripture a veneer of false notions regarding linguistics, law, and history. And there are other important subsidiary disciplines of hermeneutics that I could discuss. It is no surprise that Seventh-day Adventists soon after Ellen White’s death fell into Fundamentalism. This is what well-intentioned but ignorant people do. We need to acknowledge that most Seventh-day Adventists today are Fundamentalists. There are fringe websites that celebrate Seventh-day Adventist Fundamentalism.

This is an exciting book that I intend to read very soon. I am especially interested in the Trinity, given the rise of the anti-Trinitarian heresy of neo-subordinationism that has occurred in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. There are many famous Seventh-day Adventist pastors, evangelists, and GC personnel who have abandoned biblical Christianity in their lunge toward neo-subordinationism. If Athanasius is correct, and I think he is given that he is the greatest exponent of the Trinity in the history of Christendom, these particular famous Seventh-day Adventists are by definition no longer Christians. Good Seventh-day Adventists, yes, but not Christians. I plan to revisit his Discourses Against the Arians to see if I can detect whether Arius possessed a Fundamentalist mindset.

Thank you for this stimulating interview.

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This is the key to the demise of any unique and interesting thing:

That ‘crucial’ and ‘relevant’ features of a thing become the domain of a minority – consisting of its largely irrelevant features – which minority would rather not be unique or interesting at all.

Imagine no rainbow colors. No SDA church. No religion. No Ellen to blame. . . only other ‘leaders’ who seek to define Adventism by anything EXCEPT ‘Adventism’. And, it is only a matter of time until those other ‘leaders’ – after they are safely dead – are themselves placed in the ‘Ellen’ hot-seat by a new generation of largely irrelevant features for whom ‘bland’ is not tasteless enough.

Perhaps the next, 2020 GC session should vote on adopting this prayer, in the spirit of Red Green’s ‘Man’s Prayer’ :

“I am an SDA …
but I can change …
if I have to …
I guess.”

It is beyond my comprehension that those who make their living from Adventism still look for ways to erase it, from the ground, up. Label such a pursuit with whatever accusation you want – ‘progressive’, ‘fundamental’ ‘traditional’ … – it is still an ‘adolescent’, violent, and destructive act of self-hatred urged on by an overwhelming desire to ‘blend into the crowd’ of ‘other’ things and be ‘accepted’, a.k.a. ‘bland’. God forbid that Adventists should simply be Adventists ! ?

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Why is it that too many of the liberals continue to show a spirit of “Well Fundamentalism should be true.” and seem to like the facts that Mrs. White does not fit the Fundamentalist’s perspectives, and hold these facts against her and if they are aware of the same “problems” in the Bible hold the facts against the Bible as well.

I’m glad that I attended Atlantic Union College in the late 1970s where the faculty were anti-fundamentalists, willing to discuss how both the Bible and Mrs. White do not fit the fundamentalist ideals and taught about the 1919 Bible Conference, yet did this in a context of faith. At more conservative schools and Adventist neighborhoods people like Walter Rea came and caused grief. Yet at places such as AUC they came, put on their horse and pony show and left and life went on as usual, still believing in the inspiration of the Bible, Mrs. White and also the Investigative Judgment, but in a very anti-fundamentalist context.

I just finished reading Dr. Campbell’s book. I wonder if he has done any study in Fundamentalism and Adventism both before and after 1919, and while he talked about the different conferences and mentions one in Philadelphia in 1918, he neglected to mention the major conference in Philadelphia in May 1919 which apparently many of the delegates first attended and who’s message too many brought home instead of the message from the Washington D. C. conference. I wish that our conference was first and at the end Elder Daniel’s collected the train tickets to Philadelphia and burned them. But there are also the correspondence between Mrs. White and Elder Haskell where Elder Haskell kept trying to tell Mrs. White that her visions and books were directly from God and thus inerrant, and her telling him that inspiration does not work that way. Haskell kept trying to make Mrs. White a Fundamentalist and she kept trying to make him give up and neither made any headway, but remained close friends.

Then there were the less friendly letters between Mrs. White and/or Willie with people like Elder’s Washburn, Wilkinson, and I believe an Elder Watson and a few more who’s names did not start with “W” (What the letters say on both sides were so similar that it took me a while to realize that the White’s were not writing to the same person). The letters tended to point out that while these different pastor’s would give massive quotes by Mrs.White, she or Willie accused them of not understanding her message and thus misrepresent her teachings. They would remind her of what the Lord inerrantly said through her and her telling them that God does not work that way. I also saw documents being spread in the first decade of the 20th century accusing Mrs. White of no longer believing that she was a prophet and that her current messages are from people like Willie or Prescott etc. and that if you want to know what she wrote that came from God to stop reading her writings directly and to read her writings as quoted by the pastors who she wrote those sharp testimonies to.

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Ditto.

Well, they may not have understoo dseveral things, however, it is obvious that some of them understood that keeping our theology based on EGW and not on the Bible alone would eventually create problems in the future. As it really did.

It seems that Daniels was an astute person who had the intuition that things needed to be changed. But he was obfuscated and defeated by the Church fundamentalists. The danger proposed by fundamentalism remain the same to date. Now, just think of the exacerbated dangers of a fundamentalist LGTarianism!!! :open_mouth: :astonished: :fearful: :fearful: :fearful:

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There are a number of developmental theories that provide mental health professionals pathways to understand personality traits and/or pathology. One such theory is Object Relational theory which posits that not only is an object internalized but also is the development of its relationship. An important developmental stage of Object Relational is the Paranoid Schizoid stage where the child splits his external world into good or bad. The child has an undeveloped ego and can only see how his primary providers cater to his needs and frustration with no in-between poles other than good or bad, black and white. As the child develops cognition, the normal process includes the ability to integrated both good and bad as one source. For instance he begins to accept the fact that his mother can be happy and sad, can feed him immediately or not and still be the same mother. This template follows the child as he enters full maturity.

This is an important aspect to remember when dealing with fundamentalists as studies have shown that the unresolved stage of paranoid-schizoid can expose individuals to fundamentalism. Religion conviction in this case may be just a facade for failing to resolve a normal developmental stage.

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Is Fundamentalism a Religion of “fear”?
Richard Rohr makes an interesting statement in his book Everything Belongs,
pg 108. “Even though the admonition “not to fear” is the most common
one-liner in the Bible, our system never called fear a sin. We rewarded it, as
all organizational systems will.
When Religion becomes an organizational system, it will “reward fear” because
it Offers Control to those in management.”
On pg 101 is this – “True religion is never about Fear. It is always about moving
beyond fear. Yet many of us were religiously trained to be comfortable with fear.”
Then he quotes the fear of the Lord is beginning of wisdom – being taught “fear
of God” as a virtue when children. When Actually is NOT “fear” but reverence and
honor, someone we look up to, are devoted to.

It is easy to preach “FEAR God and keep His commandments.” If you don’t will be
tormented with “fire and brimstone” while angels and God look on, and torment lasts
for ever and ever, with no rest day or night. – Rev 14:6-12.

G: – Remember the statement in Truth About Angels, pg 287. Humans taking the
vacant seats in the Choir? Was from Letter 91, 1900.
From a PRIVATE Correspondence, but to whom, don’t know, or even WHY she
wrote it to that person.
That Book will cite OTHER compilations as the source for some statements, but
WILL NOT give the original source. STRANGE!

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Steve,
Strange, or just more of the same?
Difficult to understand how some people can use those sources to base their religion on. This is, too, very strange.

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Really enjoyed reading both your and Elmers posts so thank-you both.
From my experience growing up in a Fundamentalist religion, (church), the fear factor could only work if there was some form of guilt to fall into. It must be extremely difficult in this time period to sell fear.

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For some of us, issues of the 1919 Bible Conference go far beyond discussions about theological theories, fundamentalism, etc. They are specifically related to the authority of EGW to adjudicate Scripture. Whatever transpired to bury the 1919 manuscript a century ago doesn’t matter as much to me as the fact that key leaders suppressed its general circulation after its mid-1970s rediscovery.

Who gave Arthur White authority to effectively rebury this vital information in a network of archives unavailable to pastors (like me at that time) struggling to make sense of the Numbers/Rea/Ford crisis? I could have been spared five years of confusion during my theological formative years. Why did it take an unofficial source (Spectrum) to belatedly publish excerpts of such information so important to Adventists everywhere?

I bless the day when Ron Graybill heroically shared that liberating issue of Spectrum with me, there in his White Estate office. He dispelled debilitating deceptions foisted upon me all my life.

BTW, what’s this about removing selected portions of the minutes? Is anybody curious?

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C.E. –
There are STILL the “fire and brimstone”, the “smoke ascending forever
and ever” in Revelation 14:10,11.
“Unquenchable fires” of Matthew 3:12, Luke 3:17

The last major battle Mrs.White fought was to try to prevent Fundamentalism from getting a foot hold into our church. She was old, died while still fighting and lost the battle. Martin Weber, my heart goes out to what you when through and I was glad that you were shown the article. As I said earlier I’m glad that I went to Atlantic Union College where these things and the 1919 Bible conference were freely taught in the classroom.

2 Likes

C.E. –
There are STILL the “fire and brimstone”, the “smoke ascending forever
and ever” in Revelation 14:10,11.
“Unquenchable fires” of Matthew 3:12, Luke 3:17

In Seventh-day Adventism there have been two views of hell fire taught. One more popular among layity, the other has at least been taught in some of our colleges and even from time to time in the Seminary such as by Elder Fifield in the 1800s, Lynn Harper Wood since the 1920s and others since, some who have come upon this by their independent study of the Bible and Spirit of prophecy .

The one view is basically the traditional Catholic and Baptist hell except that it burns until it burns it self out. It is where God does two things at the end of time, something nice to the saved and a divine spanking to the lost.

The other is based on texts and quotes such as “The glory of him that is love will destroy the wicked.” It is not the fire we get from lighting a match or a volcano, but the fire of the burning bush and the top of Mt. Sinai. Isaiah 33 asks who can live in the eternal fire and the answer is the righteous. They get to burn forever in the eternal fire. When prophets first saw God they felt like they were being burned alive. But came to learn that they could not only survive being in this fire but that they thrived in the fire and hated not to be burning in that fire. The term Seraphim means the burning ones. It is the fire of God’s love, beauty, mercy and glory. So when does the fire of God’s love burn out? What can quench it?

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Fundamentalists remind me of Climate change enthusiasts!