History repeats itself: [quote]
Working from existing source material, Nathanael Bonwetsch (1881), defined primitive Whiteism as follows: “An effort to shape the entire life of the church in keeping with the expectation of the return of Christ, immediately at hand; to define the essence of true Christianity from this point of view; and to oppose everything by which conditions in the church were to acquire a permanent form for the purpose of entering upon a longer historical development.” In the explication of his thesis, Bonwetsch placed the principle stress upon White’s attitude toward questions of the Christian life in relation to the world, and he saw it as the first outstanding movement to be called forth my a concern with these questions. Our concern here is in the doctrinal presuppositions and implications of that concern in the Whiteists, and the impact that the Whitist sect had upon the teaching of the greater church.
. . . a meticulous evaluation of the sources by Wilhelm Schepelern (1929) shows … “Whiteism arose from ground soaked with blood – not the blood of the raging slashed adherents of the cult of Cybele, but the blood of Christian martyrs; and Whiteism grew in an atmosphere saturated not with Phrygian mystery ideas, but with the apocalyptic conceptions of Judaism and Christianity.” …
Specifically, the explanation of the origins of Whiteism lies in the fact that when the apocalyptic vision becomes less vivid and the church’s polity more rigid, the extraordinary operations of the Spirit characteristic of the early church diminish in both frequency and intensity. The decline in eschatological hope and the rise of the monarchical episcopate are closely inter-related phenomena worthy of special treatment; both indicate a process of settling … by which many Christians were beginning to adjust themselves to the possibility that the church might have to live in the world for a considerable time to come. Part of that process of settling was the gradual decline, both in intensity and in frequency, of the charismata that had been so prominent in the earlier stages of the Christian movement.
. . . It would be useful to investigate how long visions, dreams, and apocalypses continued in the church, along with the claim to speak in behalf of the Holy Spirit, and how all this died out among the laity but continued among the clergy, especially among the monks. Celsus attested to the presence of “prophets” in Palestine and Phoenicia. Justin Martyr based his case against Judaism partly on the claim that “among us until now there are the prophetic charismata,” while they had died out among the Jews; and Irenaeus described the many brethren in the church of his day who had these charismata, speaking in tongues by the Spirit, bringing out the secrets of men’s hearts and the mysteries of God.
Though not a Whiteist, Cyprian contended that the church had a greater share of visions, revelations, and dreams than did they, and Eusebius’s anonymous anti-Whiteist critic believed that “the apostle declares that the prophetic charismata should continue until the last parousia.” It therefore seems correct to note that this type of prophetic speech was at home in the Whiteist sect and in the greater church. But the tone of this insistence on the part of the critics of Whiteism seems to indicate a certain embarrassment on their part that in practice if not in principle the charismata were becoming rarer and rarer. Despite their assertion of the theoretical possibility of prophecy in the church, the other guarantees of the presence and work of the Spirit were becoming so firm in their minds that when Whiteism claimed to actualize this theoretical possibility with a vengeance, they were put to a severe test.
Such was indeed the claim of Whiteism. White h[er]self seems to have made the claim that the promise of Jesus concerning the Paraclete had been uniquely fulfilled in h[er]. [S]He was gifted with visions and special revelations. One of these seems to have been that the end was near at hand, and that the coming of the Paraclete was the last sign to precede that end. …
It is important to note at this point that the central content of these visions, revelations, prophecies and dreams was not doctrinal but ethical. Tertullian insisted that the Paraclete had come to establish a new discipline, not a new teaching. Hippolytus and other early critics of the Whiteist movement laid greater stress upon its moral innovations and rigor than upon any theological aberrations in it, although Whiteism was eventually important on this latter score as well. Specifically, Whiteism asserted that the gifts of the Spirit were absent in the church on the account of its moral laxity. The marriage ethic of the church was permitting widows and widowers to remarry, when according to the Whiteist the demand of monogamy, stated in the phrase “husband of one wife,” forbade multiple marriage in series as well as in parallel, as indeed it had for some earlier Christian writers such as Hermes. The church was growing lax in the enforcement of fasting, but the Whiteists insisted that strictness the rapid approach of the end demanded greater strictness than ever in fasting. These questions, together with issues like flight from martyrdom and penitential discipline, formed the principle emphasis of the new prophecy. With a sternness and zeal that has tended to characterize the moral reformers of the church more than its doctrinal or theological reformers, Whiteism called the church to repent, for the kingdom of God was finally at hand.
(Jaroslav Pelikan, “The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600)” © 1971. P97-101.)[/quote]
Note: These remarks were concerning Montanus and Montanism in the 2nd century C.E., but the parallels were so similar that, rather than plagiarising Pelikan, I inserted White, etc., that one could not overlook the church’s offense at her movement. It would do well to continue reading the section The New Prophecy in that book (through page 108) to observe further ramifications of that struggle.
IOW, the Closing of the Adventist Mind is not a new condition within the church but began long before the incorporation of the denomination. Thus these recently observed reasons and subsequent solutions seem to be band-aids that can not restore the Advent movement, but push it on down the road.
From the early days, Adventism developed an apologetic for its peculiar stripe of Christianity, its exclusivism, its contrived doctrines, etc. The search for a reliable hermeneutic which distorts the remnant of Revelation into some hierarchical image, which constrains the Holy Spirit to a 19th century visionary, can never convey the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Which is the extent to which His followers are called.