The Use of the Spirit of Prophecy
In Our Teaching of Bible and History
W. E. Howell: Our topic for this hour, as arranged in the program, is "The
Use of the Spirit of Prophecy in our Teaching of Bible and History."
Elder Daniells is here with us this morning to fulfill his promise to our
teachers that he would give us a talk along this line, and I am sure the
opportunity of considering this question further will be greatly appreciated.
A. G. Daniells: I have been a little uncertain in my own mind as to just
what line it would be best to follow. There is so much in this that it
can not be fully presented in one talk, and I would regret missing the
mark and taking up that which would not be of most interest to you; and
so I finally decided that I would prefer to have a round-table talk. I
would prefer to have you question me and then I would try to answer such
points as are of most interest to you. I may not be able to give another
talk here, and you probably would not have the time, and so I would like
to make this hour most profitable. I will present one or two points as
briefly as I can to start with, and then I will just open the way for
First of all I want to reiterate what I stated in the talk I gave some
evenings ago on this subjectthat I do not want to say one word that
will destroy confidence in this gift to this people. I do not want to
create doubts. I do not want to in any way depreciate the value of the
writings of the spirit of prophecy. I have no doubt in my own mind. I do
not know whether every man can say that or not, but I can say it with all
honesty. I have had perplexities through the forty years I have been in
the ministry. I have found things similar to that to which Peter referred
in Paul's writings, - hard to be understood. You know Peter said that,
and I have had personal testimonies come to me that I could not
understand. That is a remarkable thing, isn't it, for a man to get such a
message as that? But that is what nearly all doubters hark back to when
they get away from us, - they got a testimony they could not understand
and believe. I could not understand then, but time has helped me to
understand; and I have concluded that we do not see from the Lord's
standpoint, and we do not know as much as the Lord knows about ourselves
and so when He reveals things to us that we do not understand, it is
because He knows more about us and our tendency and dangers than we do,
The first one I got that threw me into confusion charged me very strongly
with sort of - well, I will put it in the worst form - a tendency to
domineer over my brethren in administrative matters, not giving them the
freedom of mind and thought that they were entitled to. I did not
understand that. It did not seem so. I asked some of my good friends, and
they said they never had felt it, and that threw me into worse trouble.
Even some members of the Committee had never seen that. What was I to do?
They were not the right men for me to get my information from. I soon
found that there were some men who believed that the message was right.
Inside of a year or so I found a very strong tendency, under a bit of
nervousness and weariness, to do that very thing; so I got the message
out and reread it prayerfully, and acknowledged it to the Lord, and I am
trying all the time to guard against any domineering spirit, for I think
it is a most abominable thing for a man in office to begin to lord it
over people who are not in office; but it is in human nature. You have
heard the story of the Irishman who was promoted to the position of
foreman of a section gang. The next morning he went out and said to one
of the men:
"Timothy O'Brien, come here."
When the man came, he said to him: "I discharge ye this morning, not
because I have anything agin ye, but to show me authority." [Laughter]
He had been put in office, and the very first thing he wanted to do was
to show his authority. That is human nature, but it is not Christianity;
and it is to be abominated and avoided by every one who gets office,
whether president of the General Conference, or principal of a school, or
head of a department in a school. All should avoid that and give every
man his rights and freedom and liberty.
As I said, I have met things that were hard to be understood, but time
has helped me to understand them, and I can honestly say this morning
that I go along in this movement without any doubts in my mind. When I
take positions differing from other men, that is not proof that I am a
doubter. I may be a doubter of their views or their interpretation, but
that does not make me a doubter of the spirit of prophecy. I may differ
with a man about his interpretation of the Bible, but that does not make
me a doubter of the Bible. But there are men who just hold me right up as
a doubter of the Testimonies because I take the position that the
Testimonies are not verbally inspired, and that they have been worked up
by the secretaries and put in proper grammatical shape. A few years ago a
man came onto the nominating committee and wanted me kept out of the
presidency because I did not believe the Testimonies were verbally
inspired. That was because I differed with him on theory and
interpretation; but I am the one to say whether I doubt the Testimonies,
am I not? [Voices: Yes, yes!] And so are you. I want to leave the
impression that I am not trying in any way to put any doubts in your
mind. And O, I would feel terribly to have this denomination lose its
true, genuine, proper faith in this gift that God gave to this church in
these messages that have come to us. I want that we shall stay by this
clear through to the end. [Amens]
Now with reference to the evidences: I differ with some of the brethren
who have put together proofs or evidences of the genuineness of this
gift, in this respect, - I believe that the strongest proof is found in
the fruits of this gift to the church, not in physical and outward
demonstrations. For instance, I have heard some ministers preach, and
have seen it in writing, that Sister White once carried a heavy Bible - I
believe they said it weighed forty pounds - on her out-stretched hand,
and looking up toward the heavens quoted texts and turned the leaves over
and pointed to the texts, with her eyes toward the heavens. I do not know
whether that was ever done or not. I am not sure. I did not see it, and I
do not know that I ever talked with anybody that did see it. But,
brethren, I do not count that sort of thing as a very great proof. I do
not think that is the best kind of evidence. If I were a stranger in an
audience, and heard a preacher enlarging on that, I would have my doubts.
That is, I would want to know if he saw it. He would have to say, No, he
never did. Then I would ask, "Did you ever see the man that did see it?"
And he would have to answer, "No, I never did."
Well, just how much of that is genuine, and how much has crawled into the
story? - I do not know. But I do not think that is the kind of proof we
want to use. It has been a long time since I have brought forward this
sort of thing, - no breath in the body, and the eyes wide open. That may
have accompanied the exercise of this gift in the early days, but it
surely did not in the latter days, and yet I believe this gift was just
as genuine and exercised just the same through these later years as in
the early years.
C. P. Bollman: Isn't the same thing true of the Bible? Can't you size it
up and believe it because of its fruit, what it does, and not because of
the supernatural things related in it?
A. G. Daniells: Yes. For instance, I would not take the story of David
killing a lion and a bear, or of Samson killing a lion, and herald that
to unbelievers or strangers as proof that the Bible was inspired,
especially about Samson. Here is the way I would want to teach the boys
and girls: I would want to begin with the beginning of this movement. At
that time here was a gift given to this person; and with that gift to
that individual, at the same time, came this movement of the three-fold
message. They came right together in the same year. That gift was
exercised steadily and powerfully in the development of this movement.
The two were inseparably connected, and there was instruction given
regarding this movement in all its phases through this gift, clear
through for seventy years.
Then, in my own mind, I look the phases over. We will take one on the
Bible. What shall be the attitude of the people in this movement toward
the Bible? We know that that should be our authority without a creed and
without the higher criticism. This is the Book. The position we hold
today is the right position, we believe, - to magnify this Book, to get
our instruction from this Book, and to preach this Book. The whole plan
of redemption, everything that is necessary to salvation, is in this
Book, and we do not have to go to anything outside of the Book to be
saved. That has been the attitude of the spirit of prophecy toward this
book from the beginning, hasn't it? [Voices: Yes.] And I suppose we can
give credit to that gift for our attitude toward the Book as much as to
any influence that anybody has exercised.
Now take the doctrines of the Bible: In all the other reformations that
came up, the leaders were unable to rightly distinguish between all error
and truth, - the Sabbath day, Baptism, the nature of man, etc., - and so
they openly taught errors from this book. But now, when we come to this
movement, we find the wonderful power of discrimination on the part of
the spirit of prophecy, and I do not know of a single truth in this Book
that is sat aside by the spirit of prophecy, nor a single biblical or
theological error that came down through the dark ages that has been
fostered by the spirit of prophecy and pressed upon the people that we
have to discredit when we come to this Book. The doctrines of baptism,
the law, the place and value and dignity of the Holy Spirit in the
church, and all the other teachings that we have, have been magnified by
this gift among us.
Take another line, - the activities of the church. Here is our attitude
toward foreign missions or world evangelism. Who among us has ever
exercised greater influence than this gift in behalf of world evangelism?
Take the question of liberal, unselfish support of the work. When you go
to those writings, you find them full of exhortations, and if we would
live them out better than we do our gifts would be greater, and our
progress would be more rapid.
Then take our attitude on our service that we are to render to our
fellowmen, Christian help work, - all those activities where a Christian
should be a real blessing, an unselfish individual in the community to
help people in their sorrows and misfortunes, their poverty and sickness,
and every way that they need help. We find that the writings of the
spirit of prophecy abound with exhortations to an unselfish life in
living among our fellowmen.
Take the question of health and the medical missionary work, and all
these activities, and take the service that should be put forth in behalf
of the young. Where do you find in any movement that we read about where
better instruction has been given as to the attention that should be
given to the young people. Take the question of education: Why, brethren,
none of our teachers ever have stood in advance of the counsel, that good
wholesome instruction, that we find in the spirit of prophecy.
Those things I point to as really the convincing evidence of the origin
of this gift, and the genuineness of it, - not to some ocular
demonstrations that a few people have seen. I have no objections to
persons speaking of those; but in close work with students I certainly
would take the time to note down all these actual facts and hold them
before the students, and show that from the beginning of this movement
there has been inseparably and intimately and forcefully and aggressively
connected with it this gift that has magnified everything good and has
discounted, I think, everything bad. And if that is not evidence of the
source of this gift among us, then I do not know what would be evidence.
W. E. Howell: I am sure the teachers would like to have some suggestions
on the use of the spirit of prophecy and its writings in their teaching work.
A. G. Daniells: Well, give me a question that will be definite, in a
C. L. Taylor: I would like to ask you to discuss for us the exegetical
value of the Testimonies. Of course I think it is generally understood by
us that there are many texts to which she makes no reference. There are
many texts that she explains, and there may be other explanations that
are equally true that she does not touch. But my question is really this:
May we accept the explanations of scripture that she gives? Are those
A. G. Daniells: I have always felt that they were. It may be that in some
very critical matters there may be some difficulties; but I have used the
writings for years in a way to clarify or elucidate the thought in the
texts of scripture. Take "Desire of Ages" and "Patriarchs and Prophets."
In reading them through I have found many instances of good illumination.
Does that answer your question? Do you mean whether students should
resort to the writings for their interpretation of the Bible, or to get
additional light? That is to say, is it necessary to have these writings
in order to understand the Bible? Must we go to her explanations to get
our meaning of the Bible? Is that the question or is that involved in it?
C. L. Taylor: Not directly, but possibly indirectly. But I will give a
more concrete example. We will suppose that a student comes for help on a
certain scripture, and wants to know what it means. Is it proper for the
teacher to explain that scripture, with perhaps other scriptures
illuminating the text, and then bring in the spirit of prophecy also as
additional light on the text? Or suppose two students differ on the
meaning of a text, and they come to the teacher to find out what it
means: Should the teacher explain the text and then use the Testimonies
to support the position he takes? Or take still a third case: Suppose
that two brethren, both of them believers in the Testimonies, and of
course believers in the Bible primarily, have a difference of opinion on
a certain text: Is it right for them in their study of that text to bring
in the spirit of prophecy to aid in their understanding of it, or should
they leave that out of the question entirely?
A. G.. Daniells: On that first point, I think this, that we are to get
our interpretation from this Book, primarily. I think that the Book
explains itself, and I think we can understand the Book, fundamentally,
through the Book, without resorting to the Testimonies to prove up on it.
W. E. Howell: The Spirit of prophecy says the Bible is its own expositor.
A. G. Daniells: Yes, but I have heard ministers say that the spirit of
prophecy is the interpreter of the Bible. I heard it preached at the
General Conference some years ago, when it was said that the only way we
could understand the Bible was through the writings of the spirit of
J. M. Anderson: And he also said "infallible interpreter."
C. M. Sorenson: That expression has been canceled. That is not our position.
A. G. Daniells: It is not our position, and it is not right that the
spirit of prophecy is the only safe interpreter of the Bible. That is a
false doctrine, a false view. It will not stand. Why, my friends what
would all the people have done from John's day down to the present if
there were no way to understand the Bible except through the writings of
the spirit of prophecy! It is a terrible position to take! That is false,
it is error. It is positively dangerous! What do those people do over in
Roumania? We have hundreds of Sabbath-keepers there who have not seen a
book on the spirit of prophecy? What do those people in China do? Can't
they understand this Book only as we get the interpretation through the
spirit of prophecy and then take it to them? That is heathenish!
L. L. Caviness: Do you understand that the early believers got their
understanding from the Bible, or did it come through the spirit of prophecy?
A. G. Daniells: They got their knowledge of the Scriptures as they went
along through the Scriptures themselves. It pains me to hear the way some
people talk, that the spirit of prophecy led out and gave all the
instruction, all the doctrines, to the pioneers, and they accepted them
right along. That is not according to the writings themselves, "Early
Writings." We are told how they did; they searched these scriptures
together and studied and prayed over them until they got together on
them. Sister White says in her works that for a long time she could not
understand, that her mind was locked over these things, and the brethren
worked their way along. She did not bring to this movement the Sabbath
truth. She opposed the Sabbath truth. It did not seem right to her when
Brother Bates presented it to her. But she had help from the Lord and
when that clear knowledge was given her in that way, she was a weak
child, and could not understand theology, but she had a clear outline
given to her, and from that day to her death she never wavered a minute.
But the Lord did not by revelation give to another all that He had given
in this Book. He gave this Book, and He gave men brains and thinking
power to study the Book.
I would not, in my class work, give out the idea at all to students that
they can not understand this book only through the writings of Sister
White. I would hold out to students, as I do to preachers, and in
ministerial meetings, the necessity of getting our understanding of the
Bible from the Bible itself, and using the spirit of prophecy to enlarge
our view. I tell them not to be lazy about studying the Book, and not to
rummage around first for something that has been written on a point that
they can just swallow without study. I think that would be a very
dangerous thing for our ministers to get into that habit. And there are
some, I must confess, who will hunt around to find a statement in the
Testimonies and spend no time in deep study of the Book. They do not have
a taste for it, and if they can look around and find something that is
already made out, they are glad to pick that up and go along without
studying the Bible. The earnest study of the Bible is the security, the
safety of a man. He must come to the book itself and get it by careful
study, and then whatever he finds in the spirit of prophecy or any other
writings that will help him and throw light and clarify his vision on it,
- that is alright. Does that cover your point?
C. L. Taylor: It does to a certain extent; and yet when you take the case
of those two brethren who accept the Bible and the Testimonies, but still
have a difference of interpretation that they want help on, - is it right
for them to use the Testimonies in their study of that text, as well as the Bible?
A. G. Daniells: I think it is right to take the whole trend of teaching
and thought that is put through the Testimonies on that subject. If I am
perplexed about a text, and in my study of the spirit of prophecy I find
something that makes it clear, I take that. I think Brother Prescott
illustrates that in this matter of Matthew 24, of which there is a clear
outline in the spirit of prophecy.
W. W. Prescott: For two or three years I spent a lot of time in the study
of the 8th chapter of Daniel, to get what I thought to be the proper
interpretation of that chapter. I got up to the point one time where I
felt that I must get that clearer, where I could use it, and I made it
the special subject of prayer. I was over in England, stopping at the
home of a brother there. It came to me just like a voice, "Read what it
says in 'Patriarchs and Prophets' on that subject." I turned right around
to a book case back of me, and took up "Patriarchs and Prophets" and
began to look through it. I came right to the chapter that dealt with the
subject, and I found exactly the thing I wanted to clarify my mind on
that subject. It greatly helped me. That, Brother Daniells,is my own
personal experience over this matter that Brother Taylor raises.
In connection with what Brother Taylor has asked, I would like to suggest
this, Whether a comment on the spirit of prophecy upon the Authorized
Version establishes that version as the correct version against the
Revised Version, where the reading is changed; and if one accepted the
Revised Version, it would throw out the comment made in the spirit of
prophecy. I have a definite case in mind.
A. G. Daniells: Just in addition to that other point: I had a similar
experience when I was in Europe the last time, when I was greatly
exercised about the finishing of this work. I felt so anxious about it,
and I said, "Lord, what is the vital, important thing necessary to get
this work finished?" I was at Friedensau, and in my room praying
earnestly over that matter. And on my knees I took this little book,
"Christ's Object Lessons," and began to read. I had really got weary with
prayer, and stopped to read a little, and the first thing I found was
this: [Not verified with the book] " _______ receive the Spirit of
Christ, you will grow and bring forth fruit. Your faith will increase,
your convictions deepen, your love be made perfect. The fruit of the
Spirit is love, joy, peace, etc. This fruit can never perish. When the
fruit is brought forth, immediately He putteth in the sickle because the
harvest is ripe. That is the finish of the work. Christ is waiting with
longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the
character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He
will come to claim His own. It is the privilege of every Christian not
only to look for but to hasten the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Were
all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the
whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel! Quickly the last
great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the
I just stayed there on my knees and praised God for that gleam of light
that came to me. It took that text in Mark, "When the fruit is brought
forth, immediately He putteth in the sickle because the harvest is come."
It shows just the steps to take. I have felt from that day to this that
this denomination should be on its knees praying for the infilling of the
Holy Spirit, that we might quickly finish the work.
So, Brother Taylor, I would feel that the view that would be made clear
by the notes in the spirit of prophecy would be the safe view to take.
W. F. Howell: I had a little experience on that same point that came to
me during this Conference, and it made an impression on my mind. I have
always claimed a part of the fifth chapter of Hebrews for the teacher. I
have resorted to it many times for help from a teacher's viewpoint. Last
week we were studying here the divine call to teach, and I resorted to
this chapter for some thought, and in connection with it I read a comment
in the spirit of prophecy. I think the Spirit of the Lord led me to it.
It says this is for the teacher:
"He who seeks to transform humanity must himself understand humanity." I
thought that was good for the teacher. "Only through sympathy, faith and
love can men be reached and uplifted. Here Christ stands revealed as the
Master-Teacher. Of all that ever dwelt on the earth, He alone has perfect
understanding of the human soul." Then comes this scripture from the
fifth of Hebrews: "We have not a high priest - Master-Teacher, for the
priests were teachers - that can not be touched with the feelings of our
infirmities, one that hath not been in all points tempted like as we
are." That brought a flash of light on the fifth chapter of Hebrews I had
never received before. Then I took that idea of the high-priest being a
master-teacher, and I found the best outline of the qualifications of a
teacher I could find in any one place in the Bible; and now I claim the
whole of the fifth chapter for the teacher.
F. M. Wilcox: I have a paragraph here I would like to read. This is so
completely in harmony with what Brother Daniells has expressed that I
thought I would like to read it. James White, in the Review of 1851,
wrote this and it was republished again four years later, as expressing
what he considered the denominational view with respect to the
Testimonies back there:
"GIFTS OF THE GOSPEL CHURCH"
"The gifts of the Spirit should all have their proper places. The Bible
is an everlasting rock. It is our rule of faith and practice. In it the
man of God is 'thoroughly furnished unto all good works.' If every member
of the church of Christ was holy, harmless, and separate from sinners,
and searched the Holy Scriptures diligently and with much prayer for
duty, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, we think, they would be able to
learn their whole duty in 'all good works.' Thus 'the man of God may be
perfect.' But as the reverse exists, and ever has existed, God in much
mercy has pitied the weakness of his people, and has set the gifts in the
gospel church to correct our errors, and to lead us to his living Word.
Paul says that they are for the 'perfecting of the saints,' 'till we all
come in the unity of the faith.' The extreme necessity of the church in
its imperfect state is God's opportunity to manifest the Spirit.
"Every Christian is therefore in duty bound to take the Bible as a
perfect rule of faith and duty. He should pray fervently to be aided by
the Holy Spirit in searching the Scriptures for the whole truth, and for
his whole duty. He is not at liberty to turn from them to learn his duty
through any of the gifts. We say that the very moment he does, he places
the gifts in a wrong place, and takes an extremely dangerous position.
The Word should be in front, the eye of the church should be placed upon
it, as the rule to walk by, and the fountain of wisdom, from which to
learn duty in 'all good works.' But if a portion of the church err from
the truths of the Bible, and become weak and sickly, and the flock become
scattered, so that it seems necessary for God to employ the gifts of the
Spirit to correct, revive, and heal the erring, we should let him work.
Yea, more, we should pray for him to work, and plead earnestly that he
would work by the Spirit's power, and bring the scattered sheep to his
fold. Praise the Lord, he will work. Amen." - Review and Herald of April 21, 1851.
We wrote the above article on the gifts of the gospel church four years
since. It was published in the first volume of the Review. One object in
republishing it is that our readers may see for themselves what our
position has ever been on this subject, that they may be better prepared
to dispose of the statements of those who seek to injure us.
The position that the Bible, and the Bible alone, is the rule of faith
and duty, does not shut out the gifts which God set in the church. To
reject them is shutting out that part of the Bible which presents them.
We say, Let us have a whole Bible, and let that, and that alone, be our
rule of faith and duty. Place the gifts where they belong, and all is
harmony. Review and Herald of October 3, 1854.
W. W. Prescott: How should we use the writings of the spirit of prophecy
as an authority by which to settle historical questions?
A. G. Daniells: Well, now, as I understand it, Sister White never claimed
to be an authority on history, and never claimed to be a dogmatic teacher
on theology. She never outlined a course of theology, like Mrs. Eddy's
book on teaching. She just gave out fragmentary statements, but left the
pastors and evangelists and preachers to work out all these problems of
scripture and of theology and of history. She never claimed to be an
authority on history; and as I have understood it, where the history that
related to the interpretation of prophecy was clear and expressive, she
wove it into her writings; but I have always understood that, as far as
she was concerned, she was ready to correct in revision such statements
as she thought should be corrected. I have never gone to her writings,
and taken the history that I found in her writings, as the positive
statement of history regarding the fulfillment of prophecy. I do not know
how others may view that, but I have felt that I should deal with history
in the same way that I am exhorted to deal with the Bible, - prove it all
carefully and thoroughly, and then let her go on and make such revisions
from time to time as seem best.
Just one more thought: Now you know something about that little book,
"The Life of Paul." You know the difficulty we got into about that. We
could never claim inspiration in the whole thought and makeup of the
book, because it has been thrown aside because it was badly put together.
Credits were not given to the proper authorities, and some of that crept
into "The Great Controversy," - the lack of credits; and in the revision
of that book those things were carefully run down and made right.
Personally that has never shaken my faith, but there are men who have
been greatly hurt by it, and I think it is because they claimed too much
for these writings. Just as Brother White says, there is a danger in
going away from the Book, and claiming too much. Let it have its full
weight, just as God has fixed it, and then I think we will stand without
being shaken when some of these things do appear that we can not
harmonize with our theory.
W. W. Prescott: There is another experience that you know of that applies
to what Brother Taylor has brought up. Some of the brethren here remember
very well a serious controversy over the interpretation of the 8th
chapter of Daniel, and there were some of the brethren who ranged
themselves against what was called the new view, and they took her
writings to uphold their position. She wrote to those brethren and
instructed them not to use her writings to settle that controversy. I
think that ought to be remembered as being her own counsel when brethren
that did claim to believe the Bible and the spirit of prophecy were divided
over an interpretation, and it was a matter of public controversy.
J. N. Anderson: How far would you take that word from Sister White to be
a general statement about her writings?
A. G. Daniells: I think it was especially on the case then, but I think
we have to use the same judgment about using her writings in other cases.
C. A. Shull: Just how shall we use the Testimonies in the class room?
What shall be our attitude toward them in the line of history,
especially? Before I knew that there was any statement in the spirit of
prophecy regarding the experience of John, I stated to the class that
there was a tradition that John had been thrown into a caldron of boiling
oil, and a student immediately produced that statement in the Testimonies
that John was thrown into the boiling oil. Now, I want to know, was she
given a divine revelation that John was thrown into a vat of boiling oil?
Now another question, on the taking of Babylon. Mrs. White in the spirit
of prophecy mentions that Babylon was taken according to the historian,
by the turning aside of the waters. Modern scholarship says it was not
taken that way. What should be our attitude in regard to such things?
Mrs. Williams: We have that question to meet every year.
E F. Albertsworth: I have been confronted in my classes by students who
come with the Testimonies and endeavor to settle a question by quoting
where she says, "I have been shown." They said that of all things that
must settle the matter. I have wanted to know what attitude we should
take on a question of that kind.
C. P. Bollman: Wouldn't that latter question require a concrete example?
A. G. Daniells: Yes, I think it would.
E. F. Albertsworth: I do not recall the example; but some of the students
would say that meant she had a direct revelation, and others would say
that meant that she was shown by people around her.
A. G. Daniells: I do not think that is what she means when she says that.
When she was shown, it was by the angel or the revelation that was made
to her. I feel sure that was her meaning.
E. F. Albertsworth: I have found students who had doubts about that.
W. G. Wirth: Suppose we do have a conflict between the authorized and
A. G. Daniells: That question was up before. You must not count me an
authority for I am just like you in the matter. I have to form my own
opinions. I do not think Sister White meant at all to establish the
certainty of a translation. I do not think she had that in mind, or had
anything to do with putting her seal of approval on the authorized
version or on the revised version when she quoted that. She uses
whichever version helps to bring out the thought she has most clearly.
With reference to this historical matter, I cannot say anything more than
I have said, that I never have understood that Sister White undertook to
settle historical questions. I visited her once over this matter of the
"daily," and I took along with me that old chart, - as early a chart as
we have access to, -
C. P. Bollman: The same chart that Elder Haskell sells?
A. G. Daniells: Yes, it was that same chart. I took that and laid it on
her lap, and I took "Early Writings" and read it to her, and then I told
her of the controversy. I spent a long time with her. It was one of her
days when she was feeling cheery and rested, and so I explained it to her
quite fully. I said, "Now here you say that you were shown that the view
of the 'daily' that the brethren held was correct. Now," I said, "there
are two parts here in this 'daily' that you quote. One is this period of
time, the 2300 years, and the other is what the 'daily' itself was."
I went over that with her, and every time, as quick as I would come to
that time, she would say, "Why, I know what was shown me, that that
period of 2300 days was fixed, and that there would be no definite time
after that. The brethren were right when they reached that 1844 date."
Then I would leave that, and I would go on about this "Daily." "Why," she
said, "Brother Daniells, I do not know what that 'daily' is, whether it
is paganism or Christ's ministry. That was not the thing that was shown
me." And she would go into that twilight zone right away. Then when I
would come back to the 2300 years, she would straighten. right up and
say, "That is the thing we never can move away from. I tell you, you
never can move away from that 2300 year period. It was shown to me that
that was fixed." And I believe it was, brethren. You might just as well
try to move me out of the world as to try to move me on that question, -
not because she says it, but I believe it was clearly shown to her by the
Lord. But on this other, when she says she was not shown what the "daily"
was, I believe that, and I take "Early Writings" 100% on that question of
the "daily," fixing that period. That is the thing she talks about, and I
take the Bible with it, and I take the Bible as to what the "daily"
So when it comes to those historical questions about the taking of
Babylon, I think this, brethren, we ought not to let every little
statement in history that we find lead us away from the spirit of
prophecy. You know historians contradict each other, don't you? Of course
your work is to get back, get back, get back to the fountain head, the
original thing; and when you get back there, and get it perfectly clear,
I do not believe that if Sister White were here to speak to you today,
she would authorize you to take a historical fact, supposed to be a fact,
that she had incorporated in the book, and put it up against an actual
thing in history. We talked with her about that when "Great Controversy"
was being revised, and I have letters in my file in the vault there where
we were warned against using Sister White as a historian. She never
claimed to be that. We were warned against setting up statements found in
her writings against the various history that there is on a fact. That is
where I stand. I do not have to meet it with students, and I do not have
to explain myself in a congregation. I suppose I have it easier than you
W. W. Prescott: On that very point you mention as to the capture of
Babylon, one of the most recent editions of the Bible (?) takes the
position of Herodotus against the .........., and he says: "Why should we
discount the writings on parchment in favor of the writings on clay?"
A. G. Daniells: That is what I mean, that we should not allow every
historical statement that we find that contradicts the Testimonies to set
us wild. If there are two authorities of equal value on that point, bring
up the authority that is in harmony with what we have.
C. A. Shull: We teachers have a great responsibility on us to take the
right attitude. If we say that a certain thing in the Testimonies is not
correct, students are likely to carry away the impression that we do not
have faith in the Testimonies.
A. G. Daniells: There are two ways to hurt students in this matter. One
way is to discount the Testimonies and cast a little bit of question and
doubt on them. I would never do that, brethren, in the school room.
No matter how much I was perplexed, I would never cast a doubt in the
mind of a student. I would take hours to explain matters to ground the
student in it. Casting doubts and reflections is one way to hurt a
student. Another way is to take an extreme and unwarranted position. You
can do that and pass it over; but when that student gets out and gets in
contact with things, he may be shaken, and perhaps shaken clear out and
away. I think we should be candid and honest and never put a claim forth
that is not well founded simply to appear to believe. You will have to be
careful in giving this instruction, because many of the students have
heard from their parents things that are not so, and they hear from
preachers things that are not so, and so their foundation is false.
I must refer again to the attitude of A. T. Jones. In his heyday you know
he just drank the whole thing in, and he would hang a man on a word. I
have seen him take just a word in the Testimonies and hang to it, and
that would settle everything, -just a word. I was with him when he made a
discovery, - or, if he didn't make it, he appeared to make it, - and that
was that there were words in the Testimonies and writings of Sister White
that God did not order her to put in there, that there were words which
she did not put in by divine inspiration, the Lord picking the words, but
that somebody had helped to fix that up. And so he took two testimonies
and compared them, and he got into great trouble. He went on with Dr. Kellogg,
where he could just pick things to pieces.
F. M. Wilcox: Back in the 60's or 70's a General Conference in session
passed this resolution, - they said, we recognize that the Testimonies
have been prepared under great pressure and stress of circumstances, and
that the wording is not always the happiest, and we recommend their
republication with such changes as will bring them to a standard.
A. G. Daniells: I would like to get hold of that resolution. Now,
brethren, I want to ask you honestly if there is a man here who has had
doubt created in your mind from my attitude and the positions I have
taken? [VOICES: No! No!] Or is there one of you that thinks I am shaky on
the Testimonies? - I will not say that [. . .] thinks my position is not
just right, for you might not agree with me, but from what I have said,
is there a tendency to lead you to believe that I am shaky, and that some
time I will help to get you away from the Testimonies? [Several decided
no's were heard.]
C. L. Taylor: In your talk a few evenings ago I agreed 100% in everything
you said. Today there is just one question in my mind.
A. G. Daniells: Let us have it.
C. L. Taylor: That is regarding those outward manifestations, those
things of perhaps a miraculous nature. I do not know whether you intend
to carry the impression that you discredit those or that you simply would
not teach them. If it is that you would not hold them up as proof that
the work is inspired, I am heartily in agreement with that. On the other
hand, if you take the position that those things are not to be relied on,
that Elder Loughborough and others are mistaken about these things, I
should have to disagree with you.
A. G. Daniells: No, I do not discount them nor disbelieve them; but they
are not the kind of evidence I would use with students or with unbelievers.
C. L. Taylor: I agree with that.
A. G. Daniells: I do not question them, but I do not think they are the
best kind of evidence to produce. For instance, I do not think the best
kind of proof for me to give an audience on the Sabbath question or the
nature of man or baptism, is to go and read Sister White's writings to
them. I believe the best proof I can give is the Bible. Perhaps you will
remember that it fell to me to preach Sister White's funeral sermon; and
if you will remember, I took that occasion to give evidence of her high
calling. I did not give a long list of fruits and miraculous evidences.
I knew the matter would be published to the world in hundreds of papers,
and I wanted to give them something that would be a high authority, and
this is what I gave:
First, that she stood with the word of God from Genesis to Revelation in
all its teaching.
Then, she stood with mankind in his highest endeavors to help mankind, -
elaborating on those points.
That is what I mean, Brother Taylor; but I do not discount those other things.
What I want to know is this, brethren: Does my position appear to be of
such a character that you would be led to think I am shaky? [VOICES: No!]
If you think it,just say it right out! I do not want to do that, but I
have to be honest, - I can not camouflage in a thing like this. I have
stood through it about forty years unshaken, and I think it is a safe
position; but if I were driven to take the position that some do on the
Testimonies, I would be shaken. [VOICE: That's right!] I would not know
where to stand, for I can not say that white is black and black is white.
H. C. Lacey: To us there is no doubt that you believe the Testimonies,
but will you mind my adding another personal note to it?
A. G. Daniells: No.
H. C. Lacey: It is this: Those who have not heard you, as we have here,
and are taking the other side of the question, - some of them are
deliberately saying that neither you nor Professor Prescott believe the
Testimonies. For instance, I went out to Mt. Vernon and I met the
graduating class there, and when the exercises were over, I had a private
talk with three or four of those young people, and they told me that they
certainly understood that our General Conference men down here - they did
not mean me or Brother Sorenson - did not believe the Testimonies.
W. W. Prescott: You are not telling us news.
H. C. Lacey: We as teachers are in a terribly hard position. We have got
nearly down to bed-rock in the questions that have been asked here; but
the students do get right down to bed-rock on some of these things, and
we need to get a little deeper here. There are people here at these
meetings who do not dare to ask certain questions that have come up in
their minds or in private talks. But you know that the teacher is in a
very difficult position.
On that matter of the capture of Babylon, I have felt free to say that I
thought the evidence was that Cyrus did not capture it that way, but we
would hold the matter in abeyance and simply study it. Suppose now that
further tablets would come to light, and other evidence would be brought
in to prove indisputably that Cyrus did not capture Babylon that way,
would it be right to say that if there is a revision of that book,
"Patriarchs and Prophets," which endorses, in one casual sentence, that
old view, - the revision would be brought into harmony with recently
A. G. Daniells: I think that is the position Sister White occupies. I
think that is what she has done. I never understood that she put
infallibility into the historical quotations.
H. C. Lacey: But there are some who do understand it.
W. W. Prescott: It is interesting to know that even a higher critic like
George Adams Smith agrees with Herodotus (?) on that.
Brother Daniells was speaking about this question of physical outward
evidences. One of those evidences has been that the eyes were open, as
you will remember, and this scripture in the 24th chapter of Numbers is
always referred to, showing that it is in harmony with that. But you read
the Revised Version, and you find it reads, "And he took up his parable,
and said, Balaam the son of Beor saith, And the man whose eye was closed
saith:" In this text it puts it just the other way. Then I would not want
to use that as an argument, that the prophet's eyes were open.
A. G. Daniells: That is what I mean by referring to secondary matters.
H. C. Lacey: In our estimate of the spirit of prophecy, isn't its value
to us more in the spiritual light it throws into our own hearts and lives
than in the intellectual accuracy in historical and theological matters.
Ought we not to take those writings as the voice of the Spirit of our
hearts, instead of as the voice of the teacher to our heads? And isn't
the final proof of the spirit of prophecy its spiritual value rather than
its historical accuracy?
A. G. Daniells: Yes, I think so.
J. N. Anderson: Would you set about to explain things as you have this
morning? Would you explain that you do not think the Testimonies are to
be taken as final in the matter of historical data, etc., so as to
justify a position?
A. G. Daniells: Who gives the teaching in the school on the spirit of
prophecy? Is it the Bible teacher? How do you get that question before
C. L. Taylor: Both Bible and history teachers catch it.
W. H. Wakeham: It comes up in every Bible class.
H.C. Lacey: Wouldn't it be a splendid thing if a little pamphlet were
written setting forth in plain, simple, straight-forward style the facts
as we have them, - simple, sacred facts, - so that we could put them into
the hands of inquiring students?
Voice: Our enemies would publish it everywhere.
C. L. Benson: I think it would be a splendid thing if our brethren were a
little conservative on these things. We had a man come to our Union and
spend an hour and a half on the evidences of the spirit of prophecy
through Sister White. The impression was conveyed that practically every
word that she spoke, and every letter she wrote, whether personal or
otherwise, was a divine inspiration. Those things make it awfully hard
for our teachers and ministers.
W. G. Wirth: I want to second what Professor Lacey has brought out. I
wish you general men would get out something for us, because we are the
ones that suffer.
W. W. Prescott: To my certain knowledge, a most earnest appeal was made
for that from her office to issue such a statement, and they would not do it.
C. P. Bollman: It wasn't made to her, though.
W. W. Prescott: No, but it was made to those who were handling her manuscripts.
A. G. Daniells: Some of those statements like what Brother Wilcox read
here this morning have been up a number of times, and Brother White
always took a good sensible position.
W. W. Prescott: Brother Wilcox had a letter from Sister White herself that he read.
A. G. Daniells: When these things were under pretty sharp controversy, W.
C. White, for his mother, sent out things that we had in our vaults here
that greatly modified this, and helped to smooth out these wrinkles and
get a reasonable ground on which to stand. I do not know but what perhaps
the General Conference Committee might appoint a committee to do this,
and have reliable, responsible men that the people do not question at all
take hold of that and bring out these facts. It does seem to me that in
our schools there ought to be an agreement among the teachers. The
history and Bible teachers and others that have to do with these things
should get together and have their stories and their teaching alike, if
possible. The truth should be given to those students, and when you give
the truth to them you will have them founded and established on this
without trouble. But when these erroneous views are given them, they get
a false idea and then there is danger when an honest man takes the true
side and states his position.
W. E. Howell: It seems to me that the point is of very great importance.
I have been somewhat perplexed on this matter. We have talked over things
very freely and frankly here at the other meeting and at this, and I
think the teachers here at [sic] all satisfied as to the place that is to
be given to the spirit of prophecy in its relation to their work. But
these teachers, when they get back to their places of work, will have all
kinds of questions put to them, and it has been a question with me as to
how far a teacher ought to go with a class of young people or with an
indiscriminate body to deal with and attempt to bring out the things that
they have heard here and have received and believed for themselves. I
think there is where the difficulty is going to be. We have only two
teachers here out of an entire faculty. Some other member of the faculty
might not be cleared up on these things. There may be teachers who are
endeavoring to teach science out of the spirit of prophecy; or another
teacher who has not had the benefit of this discussion, may have some
other viewpoint. And it really puts these teachers in a very hard
situation. If there is anything that can be done by way of putting
something in the hands of the teachers so that they could give the true
representation in the matter, I think it would be a very great help.
W. W. Prescott: Can you explain how it is that two brethren can disagree
on the inspiration of the Bible, one holding to the verbal inspiration
and the other opposed to it, and yet no disturbance be created in the
denomination whatever. That situation is right here before us. But if two
brethren take the same attitude on the spirit of prophecy, one holding to
verbal inspiration and the other discrediting it, he that does not hold
to the verbal inspiration is discredited.
F.M. Wilcox: Do you believe that a man who doesn't believe in the verbal
inspiration of the Bible believes the Bible?
W. W. Prescott: I do not have any trouble over it at all. I have a
different view myself. If a man does not believe in the verbal
inspiration of the Bible, he is still in good standing; but if he says he
does not believe in the verbal inspiration of the Testimonies, he is
discounted right away. I think it is an unhealthful situation. It puts
the spirit of prophecy above the Bible.
W. G. Wirth: Really, that is my biggest problem. I shall certainly be
discredited if I go back and give this view. I would like to see some
published statement given out by those who lead this work so that if that
thing should come up there would be some authority back of it, because I
am in for a lot of trouble on that thing. I would like to see something
done, because that education is going right on, and our students are
being sent out with the idea that the Testimonies are verbally inspired,
and woe be to the man out where I am that does not line up to that.
Now as to health reform: Frequently a student will come to me and quote
what Sister White says about butter. But we serve butter on our tables
right along. And they will bring up about meat, how under no
consideration is that to be eaten. And I know that that is unreasonable,
and there are times when it is necessary to eat meat. What shall we do
about that? I would like a little light on some of those details, as to
whether we ought to take them at full value.
A. G. Daniells: I am willing to answer part of that, for I have had it
about a thousand times. Take this question of health reform. It is well
known from the writings themselves and from personal contact with Sister
White, and from common sense, that in traveling and in knowledge of
different parts of the world, that the instruction set forth in the
Testimonies was never intended to be one great wholesale blanket
regulation for peoples' eating and drinking, and it applies to various
individuals according to their physical condition and according to the
situation in which they find themselves. I have always explained it that
way to our ministers in ministers' meetings. We had a ministers' meeting
over in Scandinavia, and we had one man there from the "land of the
midnight sun," up in Hammerfest where you never grow a banana or an apple
or a peach, and hardly even a green thing. It is snow and cold there
nearly all the time, and the people live to a large extent on fish and
various animal foods that they get there. We had sent a nurse from
Christiania up there as a missionary. He had the strict idea of the diet
according to the Testimonies, and he would not touch a fish or a bit of
reindeer, nor any kind of animal food, and he was getting poor; because
missionaries that are sent out do not have much money, and they cannot
import fresh fruits; and it was in the days when even canned goods were
not shipped much. The fellow nearly starved to death. He came down to
attend that meeting, and he was nearly as white as your dress [speaking
to Sister Williams]. He had hardly any blood in his body. I talked to
him, and I said, "Brother Olson, what is the matter with you? We will
have to bring you away from up there if you do not get better. You have
no red blood corpuscles in your blood." I talked with him a while, and
finally asked him, "What do you live on?"
"Well," he said, "I live a good deal on the north wind."
I said, "You look like it, sure enough."
We went on talking, and I found out that the man wasn't eating much but
potatoes and starchy foods, - just a limited dietary. I went at him with
all the terror I could inspire for such foolishness.
Voice: Did you make any impression?
A. G. Daniells: Yes, I did. And I got other brethren to join me. We told
that man he would be buried up there if he tried to live that way. We
talked with him straight about it.
When I got back to this country I talked with Sister White about it, and
she said, "Why don't the people use common sense? Why don't they know
that we are to be governed by the places we are located?" You will find
in a little testimony a caution thrown out, modifying the extreme
statements that were made.
F. M. Wilcox: Sister White says in a copy of the Instructor that there
are some classes that she would not say should not eat some meat.
A. G. Daniells: There are very conscientious men and ministers who are
very much afraid they will eat something they ought not to. On that very
point Paul says that the kingdom of God is not meat or drink, but
righteousness and peace; and we are working and trying to get through to
the kingdom just as much on the ground of works by eating or not eating
as by any other thing in this world. You never can put down vegetarianism
as the way to heaven. I have been over in India where they are mighty
strict about their eating, but they do not get righteousness that way.
C. L. Taylor: It is true of all works, isn't it?
A. G. Daniells: Certainly. You take men who have never allowed a piece of
animal food to pass their lips, and some of them are the most tyrannical,
brutal men; and when we try to reach them with the gospel, we have to
tell them that is not the way to God, that they will have to come and
believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and have His righteousness imputed to
them on confession, forgiveness, and all of that. We have people among us
that are just as much in danger of trying to establish this righteousness
by works in the matter of the dietary as the world has seen in any thing.
You know from what Sister White brought out on the matter of
righteousness that it was not her purpose to put down eating and drinking
as the way to heaven. It has its place. It is important, and I would not
want to see this denomination swing away over to the position of other
denominations; but I do not like to hear of teaching that would lead this
people to fall back on eating and drinking for righteousness, for Paul
said that is not the way. I do not think proper caution was used in
putting out some of these things, and I have told Sister White so.
Mrs. Williams: You mean in publishing them?
A .G. Daniells: Yes, when they were written. I told Sister White that it
seems to me that if conditions in the arctic regions and in the heart of
China and other places had been taken into account, some of those things
would have been modified. "Why," she said, "yes, if the people are not
going to use their judgment, then of course we will have to fix it for
them." It seemed so sensible to me. Sister White was never a fanatic, she
was never an extremist. She was a level-headed woman. She was
well-balanced. I found that so during a period of 40 years of association
with her. When we were down in Texas, and
old Brother White was breaking down, that woman just got the most
beautiful venison every day to eat, and my wife cooked it; and he would
sit down and eat some of that and say, "O, Ellen, that is just the
thing!" She did not hold him up and make him live on a diet of starch! I
always found her well-balanced. There are some people who are extremists,
who are fanatical; but I do not think we should allow those people to fix
the platform and guide this denomination. I do not propose to do it, for
one. And yet I believe that we should use all the caution and all the
care that is set out for the maintenance of health. And brethren, I have
tried to do it, but I have not lived all my life on the strictest dietary
set down there. I have had to go all over this world, and as you know, I
have had to be exposed to all the disease germs. I have had to live on a
very spare dietary in places in my travel, and I have. lived on wheels,
and under great pressure, and it was prophesied when I went into this in
1901 that a decade would finish me, and I would either be a broken-down
old man on the shelf or in the grave. That is the way my friends talked,
and they sympathized with me, and regretted that I ever took this
position; but I said to myself, "By the grace of God, I will live in
every possible way just right as far as I know it, to conserve my
strength." This is my 19th year, and I am not broken down, and I am not
on the shelf or in the grave. I am strong and well. I am weary, but I can
get rested. I have tried to be honest and to be true to my sense of what
was the right thing to do, and it has kept me well and strong. That is
the basis on which I propose to work. I do not propose to have any
extremist lay down the law to me as to what I shall eat up in the heart
of China. I propose to use my sense as to what I ought to eat in those
places where you can not get a green thing, hardly.
Mrs. Williams: In the interior of Africa, we had to cook everything we
ate, so as to kill the germs.
A. G. Daniells: Why, yes, in China you must sterilize your hands and your
knife, and if you eat an apple, it must be sterilized after it is peeled,
and even then it is not always safe. I do not think we have to take an
extreme position on the question of the diet for all classes. We are not
all alike. What is good for one man is not good for another. I have seen
Elder Irwin sit down and eat two or three raw apples at night just before
going to bed; but one apple at night would upset me so that my tongue
would be covered with fur and my head all swelled up. I would not eat one
if you would give me five dollars. I count that health reform, to reject
that which I know injures me and take that which I know strengthens me
and maintains me in the strongest physical trim for service and hard
work. That is my health reform. Raw apples are good for people that have
the right digestion for them; but if a person hasn't that sort of
digestion, he must lay down the law, No raw apples for him.
That is the way a lot of things got into the Testimonies. They were many
of them written for individuals in various states of health, and then
they were hurried into the Testimonies without proper modification. That
is not to say that they are false things, but it is to say that they do
not apply to every individual the world over alike. And you can not put a
health-reform regime or rule down for the whole world alike, because of
the different physical conditions that maintain. That is what I tell in
ministers' meetings and I do not think I destroy the force of the message
at all, only to the extremist.
Brother Waldorf: I have had no trouble for over twenty years with the
spirit of prophecy or with the Bible. The more I have studied both the
more firmly I have become convinced on this platform. I have read the
whole of higher criticism right through, and the other side of it. There
are 50,000 different readings in the Bible. There are many mistakes that
were made in transcribing. Now in the matter of historical complication,
I take the Bible and the spirit of prophecy exactly alike.
A. G. Daniells: Here is one illustration of a mistake in the Bible: In
Samuel it says a man lifted up his hand against 800 men whom he slew;
then in Chronicles this same thing is spoken of, and it says that he
lifted up his hand against 300 men, whom he slew.
Waldorf: I have never held up the spirit of prophecy as being infallible.
But students come to me from different teachers, having different views.
One comes and says Professor Lacey taught me this way, and another comes
from Professor Johnson who taught him some other way. There are lots of
them coming to the medical college that way from different teachers. They
do not know whether every word of the spirit of prophecy is inspired or
not. I teach them this way: That when this message was first started, God
brought this gift of prophecy into the church, and through this gift God
has approved of the major doctrines that we hold right down from 1844. I
for one hold that the gift of the spirit of prophecy was given to us in
order to get the mold, lest we should trust human reasoning and modern
scholarship, for I believe that modern scholarship has gone bankrupt when
it comes to Greek and Hebrew.
As for meat eating, I haven't touched meat for twenty-one years; but I
buy meat for my wife. I often go into a butcher shop and get the very
best they have in order to keep her in life. I never will use the
Testimonies as a sledge hammer on my brother.
A. G. Daniells: I will tell you one thing, a great victory will be gained
if we get a liberal spirit so that we will treat brethren who differ with
us on the interpretation of the Testimonies in the same Christian way we
treat them when they differ on the interpretation of the Bible. That will
be a good deal gained, and it is worth gaining, I want to tell you, for I
have been under criticism ever since the controversy started in Battle
Creek. Isn't it a strange thing that when I and some of my associates
fought that heresy year after year, and we got message after message from
the spirit of prophecy - some of them very comforting and uplifting
messages - and all that time we were counted as heretics on the spirit of
prophecy? How do you account for that? Why didn't the spirit of prophecy
get after us? I claim that I know as well as any man whether I believe in
the spirit of prophecy or not. I do not ask people to accept my views,
but I would like the confidence of brothers where we differ in
interpretation. If we can engender that spirit, it will be a great help;
and I believe we have to teach it right in our schools.
Suppose students come to you with questions about the Bible that you do
not know what to do with, - or do you always know? I would like to go to
a teacher for a year that would tell me everything in here that puzzles
me! What do you do when students come to you with such questions?
W. H. Wakeham: I tell them I do not know, and I do not lose their confidence, either.
A. G. Daniells: Well, when they come to you with something in the spirit
of prophecy that is puzzling, why not say, as Peter did, that there are
some things hard to be understood. I do not think that destroys the
confidence of the people. But we have got the idea that we have got to
just assume full and complete knowledge of everything about the spirit of
prophecy and take an extreme position in order to be loyal and to be true to it.
W. E. Howell: I just want to remark two things. One is on the question
Professor Prescott raised on our previous meeting as to why people take
these different attitudes toward a man on the Bible and on the
Testimonies. I am not philosopher enough to explain an attitude of that
sort, but I do think that the cause of it lies primarily in the making of
extreme and radical positions. I think that is where the root of the
difficulty lies, especially with reference to the spirit of prophecy.
Brother Daniells and Brother Prescott and others have come in here with
us and have talked very frankly with us, and I am sure every man here
will say that they have not covered up anything. They have not withheld
from you anything that you have asked for that they could give you in
reference to this matter. I do not doubt that it is your experience as it
is mine, when I go out from Washington, to hear it said that Brother
Daniells or Brother Prescott does not believe the spirit of prophecy.
A. G. Daniells: Brother Spicer, too.
W. E. Howell: Yes, and Brother Spicer. I feel confident of this, that as
you go out from this council you can be a great help in setting people
straight on these things, and I believe it is our privilege to do it,
brethren, to help the people on these points. Many of them are sincere
and honest in that position, from what they have heard. I think it is our
duty to help such persons all we can as we meet them.
C. L. Benson: Is this subject going to be dropped here? From what Brother
Daniells has said, I know what it is going to mean to some of our schools
and to our General Conference men. I feel it would be unfair to us as
teachers to go back and make any statement. Letters have already come in,
asking about the general men with reference to interpreting the spirit of
prophecy. I do not think it is fair for us to go out and try to state the
position of our General Conference men. On the other hand, I know the
feeling and doctrine as taught in our conferences, and they are the Bible
teachers of the people; and if our Bible and history teachers take these
liberal position on the spirit of prophecy, our schools are going to be
at variance entirely with the field. Our people are beginning to wonder
about the condition our schools are in. They say they read in the Review
of this spirit of paganism, and they say those articles surely would not
have been published in the Review if these conditions did not exist in
our own schools? Why, what would they be putting it in the Review for if
that were not the case? That is a fact, many of our people take the
position that those articles were written because of conditions existing
in our own schools. I think we ought to get down to a solution of this
thing if we can, and start some kind of a campaign of education. Out in
the field we have stressed the importance of the spirit of prophecy more
than the Bible, and many of our men are doing it right along. They tell
of the wonderful phenomena, and many times they get their entire sermon
from the spirit of prophecy instead of the Bible. If a break comes
between our schools and the field we are in a serious place.
T. M. French: I believe it would help us a great deal if some general
statement were issued, and if some of this matter that has been brought
up could be given, showing that we are not shifting our position, that we
are viewing the spirit of prophecy as it has been viewed all along. I
believe it would help to settle the situation in our conferences, and
would be a great help both to the conferences and to the schools. I am
sure from what has been read here of letters and resolutions of the past
that we have not shifted our position, but the matter is just up again;
and if we could get out statements as to our attitude all along, and
restate the matter, I believe it would do much good.
W. E. Howell: The next topic we have is a consideration of how to teach
the spirit of prophecy in our schools. In our recent general educational
convention we provided for a semester's work in the curriculum in this
subject. I think we ought to take ten minutes' intermission, and then
take up this topic, which will give opportunity for further questions
along this line.