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The 1888 General Conference

Tim Arakawa

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Tim Arakawa

Endocrinologist in Tamuning, Guam

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  • January 31, 2009
    9:00 AM
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him dear father in heaven we want to see you we want to understand what happened and eighteen eighty eight and most importantly we want to see what what you wanted to happen in eighteen eighty eight help us learn the lessons so that we can apply those to our lives in Jesus name we pray amen today we are going to start talking about eighteen eighty eight and like I mentioned this before there's a lot of material to cover and somebody things that could be said really good to be able to hit the highlights today this is part of a series of classes last week we talked about the title was almost the Canaan we talked about some of the instances the episode in Abbott 's history where God wanted to bring us to the promised land but for some reason we didn't quite make it and I believe that one of those times happen in eighteen eighty eight and the time that occurred right after eighteen eighty eight at those the very important for us the study and understand what happened if I was the most famous times that of his history it's also one of the most controversial and so I will be will try to cover some of those things today before we begin that though I want to kind of give you a background always happening during those times Olive likes you give your contacts so you can view these events within the historical they happen and two weeks ago Adrienne talked about the development of truth that happen in the Adventist church in the decades following eighteen forty four and this is a very important context for us to know and perhaps the best way to describe this is that after eighteen forty four there were a certain system of truth that were developed I believe led by God that our church down and we can kind of summarizes by saying that central to our theology at that time was the sanctuary because I explained that what happened in eighteenth and October twenty two eighteen forty four at end and afterward and within the sanctuary in the most holy place there was the law right and within the law there was the fourth commandment the seventh day Sabbath and there are many other true that were surrounding these but those were very very important parts of archaeology that time all of these truths were logical they were consistent with each other and they fit together in a nice package they had been prayerfully and painstakingly studied and thought through in the years following eighteen forty four battle come to find out there was now a group a generation of young ministers and church workers who were not there during that process of studying out the different doctrines and how that experience right after eighteen forty four and they were accepting these truths as they were taught but not really having thought through than themselves also having during this time and this is important because we have to realize that in eighteen eighty eight John was bringing only the church but history in general to a point of the opportunity and so during this time in the government of the United States there is also a movement to two began to legislate religious laws and that there was a national Reform Association that had been started precisely to lobby for this this type of thing they wanted and amendments that would put religious language actually put acknowledge God in the Constitution of United States would be an amendment they also were pushing for a national fund a lot that time and there are several of these but Senator Blair who is in the Senate at that time had introduced the bill in around eighteen eighty eight if Senate Bill twenty nine eighty three and its its object was quote secured to the people the enjoyment of the first day of the week commonly known as the Lords day as a day of rest and to promote its observance of the day of worship this was the bill that actually eighteen Jones will talk about in a moment as she went to the Senate hearings and testified representing the Adventist viewpoint of religious liberty and he was instrumental in in this bill actually it died and it never left committee as far as I can tell so during this time there was the opportunity for national Sunday law as well as a real revival and in the church through the messages of righteousness by faith the sock eleven about the people that were involved in the general eighteen eighty eight will start with a few that are most famous and that is Johnson Wagner now Jones 's name was Alonzo Chevy air Jones Wii HKEY Jones and he was is described as being Paul and angular he is a former soldier in the Isaac Army and he had been converted while he was stationed at Fort Walla Walla he's also described as being aggressive and abrupt he was a self educated man and he had a full photographic memory and that really helped him while he was testifying in front of a Congress the Senate committees at the time of eighteen eighty eight eighty Jones was thirty years old relatively young there is also another man named Alex Joseph Wagner or EJ Wagner and he is described as being the opposite of a T Jones he was short and stocky he was described as being mild and kind he had been classically trained as a medical doctor that he had turned to the ministry at that time both HD Jones and EJ Wagner a will living on the West Coast they were coeditors of the signs of the times in eighteen eighty six and they also taught at Healdsburg College and preached in the surrounding Bay Area that's what they were doing at that time you delight it was thirty three when eighteen eighty eight happened in both these men began to study their Bibles and began to teach ideas that were different then the traditional Adventist ideas about time for a T Jones he began to study Daniel chapter seven the ten horns that are listed there represent tribes that that William Miller had studied and come up with a list of who those tribes might be a Joe's that he does the same tribes and he came to pick the conclusion that one of those tribes was the Alan Manning and he felt that based better fit the description then the Hans which was the traditional Adventist thinking at that time they began to teach this at Healdsburg College and also publish articles about this in the signs of the times EJ Wagner also began to study except he was studying the book of Galatians is specifically good setting the the law and Galatians if you have your Bibles with you you can turn to Galatians chapter three verse twenty four and you'll see what EJ Wagner was studying in summary that's doing on a microphone the text is relations three verse twenty four but the suite I don't see the microphone perhaps perhaps I should read that for the sake of time into it okay Galatians three verse twenty four says wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ that we might be justified by faith we can see here that the law is is vitally connected to write to just isn't my thing and Wagner felt that the law that within this tax was referring to the moral law the ten Commandments the traditional Avenue is understanding was that the laws revisited here was the ceremonial law the types that are twenty to Christ and so easy Wagner began to you also preach that the his views and to publish them both of these men were invited to the eighteen eighty eight General conference to share their views and will chocolate more about those in a moment before we go to that let's talk about two other people because eighteen eighty eight was there tended to be two sides to to this controversy and the two people on the other side were George Butler and Uriah Smith and their others but they tend to represent that group by George Butler was the president of the General conference at that time he had taken over when James White died and so he had been thrust into leadership unexpectedly and something unfortunate taxi perhaps kind of dangerous began to happen during his time as president and that is member I've talked before about how these assist these true that had been developed over time after eighteen forty four people began to take them for granted and they were taught them but they had a really studied enough of themselves as a people began to just accept what the leaders told them without thinking without critically analyzing and being a brewery in and going back to the Bible learning them for themselves and so they began to look at the people like elder Butler to think for them and elder brother was okay with that because they would do what he would say as though elder Butler began to actually become he began to overestimate his authority and to to be controlling of those who were beneath them to think for them you forgot that there was a greater power than GC president who was guiding this this movement and I was of course God Christ so this kind leads into the general conference that happened two years before eighteen eighty eight in eighteen eighty six delegates who arrived at that general conference received a pamphlet that was written by elder Butler and his pamphlet was called it was eighty five pages and it was called the law in the book of Galatians is that the moral law or does it refer to that system of laws peculiarly Jewish long title but it was written by Butler to oppose the views that Edie Wagner had been teaching in the West Coast during that conference as well a Butler also tried to influence a committee to censor the signs of the Times for publishing a detailed articles but ultimately he had not said that did not go through that was not successful he decided not to pursue Sally say that that line of thinking re: Detroit influenced the committee is interesting to note that Ellen White was not at that conference eighteen eighty six general conference he was not there she was in Switzerland but she did see the conference in her night visions that she saw what happened at that conference and this is what she wrote the elder Butler after eighteen eighty six General conference he said I was selling the attitude of some of the ministers yourself in particular at that meeting and I can say with you my brother it was a terrible conference is underlined terrible it was terrible and will come back to this later but was she referring to the pamphlets perhaps I think you referring to the spirits try and influence that committee to sensor the size of the times trying to thing for people and at the end the press the ideas that he didn't believe in and trying to get people to do what he wanted them to do all right after that conference EJ Wagner prepared a seventy one page rebuttal it was called the gospel in the book of Galatians a review but he didn't publish it for a while and one of the reasons is because he he and eighty Jones had been reproved by Ellen White she had written a letter and I like to read parts of that letter to you because I think that this is an important learning points even for us today as we as we address point of controversy between us she wrote this to Jonathan Wagner she said if you my brethren had the experience that my husband and myself have had in regard to these known differences being published articles are papers you would never pursue the course you have either in your idea the dance before a student at the college neither would have appeared in the science especially at this time should everything like differences be repressed these young men are more self-confident or less cautious they should be you must as far as differences concern be wise as serpents and harmless as doves and as you said this and you are fully convinced that your ideas or doctrines are sound you do not show wisdom that the difference to be made apparent that he goes on says you have now set the example for others to do as you have done to feel at liberty to put in their various ideas and theories and bring them before the public because you have done this these questions are not vital points to set and finally CC gave this warning she said began to drop hard and feel liberty to express ideas without reference to the brethren in a state of things will be introduced that you do not dream of little did anyone know that maybe frilled white color into because of these some of these differences this was found in eighteen eighty materials pages twenty one to twenty four well not only Jones and Wagner receive this letter that Ellen White gave copies to George Butler and Uriah Smith and she intended for that it should be a warning to them I cautioned that do not make differences of opinion prominent well Butler and Anne Smith to get the opposite way they saw that she is rebuking Johnson Wagner and thought that she was validating their position and their their doctrinal position and so eventually she had to write them a letter as well and this is what she said since I sent this this letter not that you should make them weapons to use against the brethren mentioned but that the very same cautious and careful to be exercised by you to preserve harmony as you would have these brother and exercise now I do not wish the letters I have sent to you to be use in a way that you will take it for granted that all your ideas your ideas are all correct and Doctor Wagner 's and Elder Jones are all wrong and she said I believe now that nothing can be done but open discussion you circulated your pamphlets now does it is only fair that Doctor Wagner should have just as fair chance that you have had I think the whole thing is not in God 's order but brethren we must have no unfairness you can read this in eighteen eighty materials pages thirty two and thirty five so this is kind of what preceded the eighty eighty eight conference this back and forth this making prominent differences of opinion between Butler and Wagner a brief mention of Uriah Smith he was secretary of the General conference at that time he was a respected Adventist theologian had been there from almost the beginning yes he supported a key Jones his historically historical research until Jones began to differ with him in his interpretations and then Uriah Smith withdrew his support of Jones for now we come to the General conference of eighteen eighty eight one of the most famous episodes in Evans 's history before the General conference session however there was a seven day ministerial Institute before hand and this is where the brother got together to study and then after that they would have a nineteen day general conference during the ministerial Institute H E Jones was asked to present his arguments for the inclusion of the Alan Manny rather than the Hans in the the list of the born in Daniel seven and he gave a very persuasive arguments but by the end of that minister less acute people had begun to take sides and it began to be a division in fact the common question at that time was people would come up to each other and say are you a hunt or you and Alan Manning and that was the spirit that was being portrayed during that time even our flight was asked what she thought about the horns and she replied there are too many lords that was her take on the whole situation now during the General conference EJ Wagner was asked to present his views about right by faith and the law Galatians during their Bible study time and that we will allow time to to talk about his what he presented there will try to summarize it but there's a few other things that we need to mention that is that George Butler the president of the DC was actually not at the GC conference of eighteen eighty eight he was able to make it given sick for about five months and he was unable to travel and so in lieu of him being there he stayed in constant medication with his sympathizers at the ATA conference and he said that telegrams telling them what to do even than telegrams saying standby the old landmarks or hold the fort and implying that they needed to support the traditional Adventist understandings at that time not necessarily that those new ideas from those start ministers from the West Coast the understand what was going on as well as you do bag presented these views which all my two great interest in and listened and said a man many times some in the group were becoming restless and alarms will be presented and so partway through the discussions Robert Kilgore he was then the presidents of the southern Union conference he stood up in the middle of one of Peter Wagner 's talks and he moved that the discussion of right of right is my fate be stopped until elder Butler could be present trying to choose up a discussion is getting out of hand well Ellen White was executed on the platform it during a talk as she stood up and she said brethren this is the Lords work of the Lord wanted work to wait for elder Butler the Lord wants were to go forward and not wait for any man laughter that nobody said anything and so Elder Wagner continued his study the next morning L White had a talk and I want to read you a couple of excerpts from her talk and even if you go back and read her talk you can find it in the eighteen eighty materials I believe what I'm reading is from pages thirty two thousand site from a words that anyway it's in the HUD materials you can censor frustration and the this is what she said she said and there is very little introduction Judith got up and started basically saying this at Brother Kilgore been walking closely with God he never would've walked on to onto the ground as he did yesterday and made the statements that he did in regard to the investigation is going on and then take the position that because elder Butler was not there but that subject should not be taken up I know this is not of God and I shall not feel free until I told you later on she said now I am full of pain is I view these things and how can I help it do you think that when I see these things transpiring that I can keep still and say nothing when these things have been shown me I want to tell you my brethren that it is not right discuss ourselves upon the ideas of any one man you'll see this is a common theme in her remarks well you have to understand the spirit that was developing among the attendees at acts of the General conference of eighteen eighty eight and these facts are not as well known but I want to bring to your attention because I think it's very very important you know eighteen eighty eight was not just about the ten horns Daniel or the long Galatians had a lot to do with the hearts and the personalities involved and how and the pride as exhibited there were some groups among the delegates that had a different spirit in fact many of them were led by Conradi whom if you know you eventually left the church there is a spirit of laughter and joking testing among the delegates they would make fun and criticize wagoner and even health lights because it seemed like he was supporting Wagner in some of the lodges where these delegates were staying they began to spirit skipping group worships at night they were praying anymore there was there were small groups that became alarmed at the spirit that was being portrayed and they again to pray but by a large spirit was not conducive to Bible study and prayer believe it or not there is even heckling occurring during EA Wagner 's presentations people were openly speaking out and making fun of a wider his stature the fact that he was short they would yell out we can see you just to hurt his feelings and try to distract him and that hurt his feelings but he kept on preaching unfortunately no record was no official record was ever kept of EJ Wagner 's presentations during that conference it wasn't until later that they began to include caskets of those in the general conference bulletins and so all we have are eyewitness accounts the the the comments it all quite made regarding event that happened there and a booking that you do Wagner publish shortly afterward that it basically contains the presentations called Christ and his righteousness and there's no way to you summarize everything that he talked about but perhaps this much can be said what else might call the matchless charms of Christ that wins the message that was the width opposed to revive the church and bring us back to a true understanding of what righteous by faith really is it was about the law the law was included but it wasn't just the law that made it so precious but it was the law and the truth of our church in relation to Christ and so Wagner when he spoke about the law he talked about how the law appointed back to the lawgiver the source of the law he talked about how righteous by faith was related to Christ how Christ lawgiver had had come to serve being fully God and being fully man and died for our sins to appease that law but more importantly to give you pardon for your sins and also to give you victory over those that and all of this place together in the context of Christ was so beautiful it melted hearts and change lives are at the potential to change lives maybe you let it we don't have enough time to really go into some of the tax that wants to talk about let me just bring up a couple Colossians two verse nine was one of his key tax and because it time to to read those from the audience let me just read you it does for you and he well all the forms of the Godhead bodily referring to Jesus and this was what Wagner brought up over and over again the fact that all the fullness of the Godhead was present in Jesus any then he would go to Ephesians chapter three and the pertinent parts are that it says that Christ in verse seventeen it says that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith so just as the fullness of God was dwelling in Christ by Christ dwelling in us we also can partake of that fullness in Ephesians three verse nineteen says at the end of the verses is that you might be filled with all the fullness of God and we receive this bonus by Christ join us and that's how we receive his righteousness and and Wagner wax eloquent on the many implications of this and how we could have victory to the same fate as Christ dwell in us and he talked about first on five four that this is a victory even our faith how we could have victory through that faith all right if you want to know more about that you got a read Christ and his righteousness and here read it for yourself but to Ellen White endorse these messages and I want to read you a couple quotations that she wrote after the eighteen eighty eight conference she said I had the question asked when you think of the flight of the matter presenting why I have been presenting it to you for the last forty five years the matchless charms of Christ this is what I've been trying to present before your mind when Brother Wagner brought it out these ideas in Minneapolis it was the first clear teaching on this subject from any human lives I have heard accepting the station between myself and my husband I have said to myself it is because God has presented it to me envisioned I feel so clearly in a cast yet because they have never had a percentage of them as I and when another presented it every fiber of my heart said amen she also said the Lord in his great mercy but I was from a sermon in June nineteen eighteen eighty nine she also said the Lord in his great mercy sent a most precious message to his people through elders Wagner and Jones this method was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Savior that sacrifice for the sins of the whole world presented justification through faith in the surety and invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God many have lost sight of Jesus they needed to have their eyes directed to a divine person his merits and his changes love for the human family and then he says this this is the message that God commanded to be given to the world it is the three angels the third Angels message which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice and attended with the outpouring of his spirit and a large measure is without customers minister ministers pages ninety one to ninety two she equated this message with a loud cry as she she said that this message was the beginning of a loud cry and it could finish the work however something honestly happened because were still here later that same testimony she wrote for years the church is been looking to Madden expecting much from man but not looking to Jesus and he'll are hopes of eternal life are centered therefore God gave to his servant the testimony represented the truth as it is in Jesus which is the third subscribe and clear distinct lines that's page thirty ninety three though there seem to be two issues that were at the root of the controversy in eighteen eighty eight and those few if we can summarize those are number one people began to look to man to allow themselves to be controlled by a person other than and auditing for themselves that allowed people like George Butler to control the work to the point where he thought he was infallible Ellen White said that as she she brought up the tax when she was talking about Brother Kilgore idea to twenty two which says CC for man whose breath is in his nostrils for wherein easy to be accounted of this important lesson I think we can learn to think for ourselves to not allow one person to be our authority but allowed God to to to direct our thoughts and arm in our minds as we study the more importantly the doctrine had become just mere theory many of the true is that we hold dear or abstract and there is an intellectual assent to the truth with very little practical application for the life Ellen White wrote in eighteen ninety that the people we have preach the law until we are dry as the hills of gold Gilboa that had neither dew nor rain we must preach Christ in the law and there will be sap and nourishment in the preaching that will be as food to the vanishing flock of God Allison review and Herald March eleven eighteen ninety look at it this way it's like a sunset pic of the most beautiful sunset that you've ever seen in your life and you can look at it to a nice one person may look at the fact that a ten breakdown that cause of the spectrum and the wavelength and how it being filtered out of the atmosphere and a look at the cloud formations and they can tell you the meteorological significance of all this things right but they would miss the beautiful colors they would miss the subtle changes in color as the as the sun moved on the horizon and it missed the creator who made that sunset or your enjoyments and that's kind of what happened enough with the indicated message did after eighteen eighty eight there were after the less than enthusiastic response of the delegates in eighteen eighty eight Elm I resolved to go to the people and bring this message to people she spent about thirteen years from eighteen eighty eight to nineteen oh one traveling from ten meeting at meeting from church to church with Jonathan Wagner present in this message to the people added many revival to start it all over however the methods never took off like it could have on white was sent to Australia nineteen oh one start in eighteen ninety one start making ninety one and Jordan Wagner never develop momentum and a beard as it was but a part as well and the loud cry of the three angel never fully gained its power like it should have I do I mention that there are some groups that study this this message quite extensively and personally I'm very thankful that they have brought this to the forefront of outages thinking we need to know those those things however I do think that some of the ideas that come out of that those studies and his includes the the idea that the church has a corporately rejected the message and as an organization beneath repent of that I do not believe that that is a suitable concept of some of the other archaeological concert that come out about their there are things such as forensic justification the right motif them these things I do I do not believe that those things all were asleep part of the eighteen eighty eight message and so those those things I believe are efforts to try to find what was that missing piece of eighteen eighty eight while we not reaping the results of what the indicated message could have started I believe that ultimately you break it down the answer is very simple and that is that number one people look to man I don't think themselves I don't study that message device fate the matchless charms of Christ like we should each one of us individually needs to do that for ourselves and we need to understand that Christ is the center of our message and look to him don't look to man ultimately as we close out this is my appeal to you I used to not have been born I should not have been born all right World War I and World War II should never have occurred AIDS and 9/11 never should happen the eighteen eighty eight message could have finished the work and we are still here however there is a new generation now and we have new opportunities neither of you guys know that our church is being revived I feel bad primarily by young people and that we are reacquaint ourselves with this method the right is my thing as a Sunday maybe in heaven will look back on the history of this world I will look back at this time at another time when Christ could have come but right now the question is will it be the last time will this be the time where Jesus can come the answer is up to you and answers up to meet and I believe that if we are serious about learning to look to Christ not to each other and we are melted by the matchless charms of Christ that we can be that generation and I pray that we will be selling pray your father in heaven we ask that you will help us to see your matchless charms and that you will help us to be that generation that fully lives right by faith in his name we pray amen

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