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By Bert Haloviak


Somewhat facetiously, William Warren Prescott, 1855-1944, informed the delegates to the 1919 Bible and History Teachers' Conference: "I would like to be understood as being a conservative. I thought I would have to proclaim it to you myself." The stenographic notes of the Conference indicated that "laughter" followed the statement.68

Although the subject of the "daily" was not on the agenda to be discussed in 1919, and although it was not formally discussed as a topic, the general philosophy and central conclusions of the "new view" were, in a sense, given during the 20 presentations of W. W. Prescott on "The Person of Christ," and "The Mediation of Christ," the title of his daily worship series. Although he had not used the term "daily," because of his use of the Revised Version of the Bible that enabled an emphasis upon the term "continual," Prescott clearly presented the "new view." He emphasized:

Our message against the beast and his image centers right here, and that is to give Christ the place that belongs to him. When we are preaching the person of Christ, as we have been doing here, we are preaching against the papacy, even though we do not mention the papacy. . . . The vital thing it to give Christ his place as the living head of the church. . . . His priesthood is a continual priesthood. His sacrifice is a continual sacrifice. His ministry is a continual ministry. All growing out of the fact that he in his own person continued. Now if you take away this, you despoil Christianity. . . . Our continual experience is based upon his continual ministration. Our ability to continue as Christians, our ability to continue personally is based upon the Person of Him who continues, and that is based upon his word in his continual service for us. . . . The continual sacrifice goes on. It is one sacrifice for sin continually, and we shall live because he gives himself to us continually. . . . So the whole question of our Christian experience, our ability to work for him is all bound up in this one thing. Then when the Papacy strikes at this one thing it strikes at that which will demolish Christianity. And that is its purpose: to abolish Christianity and put a man in Christ's place. . . . We must restore the law of God as interpreted by Christ. We must restore the dealing with that law as revealed in the scriptures. We must restore to the people the means of obeying that law, or else we are not giving this message to the world.69

As did other debaters on the "daily" question, Prescott believed he saw in the subject elements of truth that far transcended the immediate theological issue. As early as 1907 he stated that he believed his view of Daniel 8 established a "much more vital connection with the real heart of this message" than had been possible under the previous interpretation. He believed that the "new view" enabled a knowledge of the mediatorial work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary that the denomination was especially called upon to present to the world just as the counterfeit mediatorial system was designed to encompass the world within its false system. He and others attached a special significance to the particular time in Adventist history when light was shining upon this view since it seemed to come at the time when Adventism was moving strongly into Roman Catholic countries. While the message exposed the false sanctuary, Prescott believed it also called the world to a restoration of the pure Word of God and supplied the power necessary for obedience to the law of God by faith in Christ's mediatorial work.70

Through his pamphlet, " 'The Daily': A Brief Reply to Two Leaflets on This Subject," through Protestant Magazine, of which he was editor from 1909 to 1916, through union conference sessions and ministerial institutes, through Sabbath School lessons that he prepared, and through correspondence with teachers and students, Prescott continued to espouse his views of the "daily."71

Prescott envisioned a somewhat different role for the spirit of prophecy within the church than those who supported the "old view" of the "daily." He considered that the Bible should be its own interpreter and that appeal should not be made to some other "visible authority" to interpret the Scriptures. Such methodology, he affirmed, would eventually result in being led step by step to substituting other authority for that of the Bible. Such a condition, he believed, would enfeeble and render uncertain the Christian experience of the church membership. Prescott thus opposed submitting the question of the "daily" to Mrs. White for her decision, as others had suggested. While he favored any explanation she might offer as to what her vision concerning the "daily" encompassed, he asserted that he did not consider that it was Mrs. White's "province to act as judge in mere matters of historical or Biblical" interpretation. Prescott believed that there was danger in asserting too great a claim upon the spirit of prophecy for in so doing, he believed that when historical evidence clearly refuted interpretations of the gift, that the gift would then be discredited and lose its authority amongst the membership. Prescott placed great stress upon the study of the context of statements made by Mrs. White in arriving at a correct understanding of her message.72


Louis R. Conradi, 1856-1939, leader of SDA work in Europe, likewise emphasized the Scriptures as its own expositor. He rejoiced at Mrs. White's counsel of August, 1910, that those engaged in the debate on the "daily" should refrain from using her writings to support their position since she had no clear light on the subject. Conradi hoped that the counsel could be accepted as a general principle for the future. He decried the weakness of the position of the "pioneers" and their evidence in support of their views of the "daily," and stated: "No wonder that some of its defenders should clamor for 'an infallible interpreter of the Word of God' to give the lacking support." Conradi had espoused his "new view" of the "daily" as early as 1898, and considered that the denomination exposed a "terrible weakness" by allowing Uriah Smith's work to continue to be circulated with what he considered an "untenable position" on the "daily" in it. Conradi considered that "it shows the lack of backbone" within the denomination. He had successfully prevented Smith's books from being published in England unless they were revised and intended to continue to adhere to that policy, he wrote Daniells. "I believe that it is our duty as watchmen to see that the truth is proclaimed and written on every point," he wrote in 1910.73

Even as two varying positions on the question of the inspiration of the spirit of prophecy seemed to be solidified in the United States, so did such positions begin to develop in Europe. In 1910 a missionary to the Turkish mission, Z. G. Baharian informed W. C. White and W. A. Spicer of increasing doubts concerning the spirit of prophecy. These doubts, according to Baharian, came largely from L. R. Conradi and were also held by the superintendent of the Turkish Mission, E. E. Frauchiger.

Baharian traced the roots of the differing positions to about 1898 when the question of health reform began to be introduced to Europe. He directly broached the question of the spirit of prophecy in a council meeting in Constantinople in October, 1910, at which Conradi was present. According to Baharian, Conradi spent some time seeking to prove that the Ellen White writings could be divided according to varying degrees of inspiration, consisting largely of two parts: testimonies which were largely revelations from God and other works that, while the subject matter was guided by the Holy Spirit, the content could contain errors and Conradi affirmed that he himself had corrected some of these "errors." According to Baharian both Conradi and Frauchiger denied that the writings on health reform were inspired. Baharian thus concluded that that position indicated "that her writings are not a safe guide to us." He noted, "What an awful thing it is that one minister should teach one way and another minister another way. We have many battles yet to fight. May God pity His people.74

T. E. Bowen, GC office secretary, writing on behalf of the traveling W. A. Spicer, did not respond to the substantive questions raised by Baharian, but did note:

This is a live question . . . and affects not only your field, but affects others, and is really no new issue raised; for it is constantly up here as well as in Turkey.

Because of the difficulties to deal with such a basic question by correspondence, W. C. White urged that Baharian meet with A. G. Daniells during a forthcoming meeting at Friedensau. He hoped that Daniells could bring Conradi, Frauchiger, and Baharian together for a discussion of the broad subject of the "authenticity and the use" of the spirit of prophecy as well as the proper manner of teaching the question of health reform "in a new field.75

Although the opportunity for a meeting with Conradi at Friedensau did not occur because of the time factor and because Daniells feared Conradi would be "tired and nervous," Danielle did discuss issues in Constantinople with the members of the Turkish Mission. Daniells gained the impression that Baharian represented one extreme on the question while Frauchiger the opposite extreme. He refused to discuss Conradi's position on the inspiration of the spirit of prophecy since he feared such views might be misrepresented. Daniells believed his presentation of the subject served to caution Baharian "with reference to taking a radical position." He dealt with the "fundamental principles underlying the spirit of prophecy and its varied forms, as well as "quite fully with the question" of book revision. Daniells noted that "the interview was a very pleasant one, and they all expressed themselves as being very grateful and well satisfied." Daniells made the following observation to W. C. White:

I had a similar meeting with the brethren and sisters in Odessa. I find that there is an influence going out from this country (United States) to all those lands, to undermine confidence in the spirit of prophecy. The thing is in the air, and it must be dealt with promptly and wisely. Our leaders must take a consistent, Biblical position—one in harmony with both the Scriptures and the actual facts as they exist. Then I believe they can stand their ground and establish our people immovably upon this phase of our message and work.76


A. G. Daniells, 1858-1935, considered the contextual relationship to spirit of prophecy statements to be vital. In a two-day question-and-answer session on the spirit of prophecy at a Boulder, Colorado, camp meeting in 1906, Daniells had several occasions to deal with questions involving contextual relationships to the writings. A former church member wanted to know how it was possible for the administrator of the Boulder Sanitarium, who was an ordained minister, to continue in his position in view of the fact that Mrs. White, in a Review and Herald article spoke against ministers performing largely administrative duties. Daniells urged against "taking such a radical position as that." He believed that the health condition of the individual involved offered a logical exception to the general counsel. He applied that same principle to the statement that "no one man should be president of the General Conference." Daniells believed that A. T. Jones had stretched that statement to make it teach something entirely out of harmony with the obvious purpose for which the testimony was given. He urged that "it will not do to take a single statement and stretch it beyond its purpose and meaning."77

Daniells addressed himself to the question of contextual considerations again when he responded to questions raised by a minister in Missouri concerning the apparent contradiction on the question of Sunday labor that appeared in Volume 9 of the Testimonies with what had appeared in earlier Testimonies. Daniells considered that the questions were fundamental in relation to the spirit of prophecy. He wrote W. C. White:

Beyond all question there is at work now an underground current of influence that is undermining confidence in your mother's writings. And I believe that unless we take a consistent, defensible position we shall be driven into very hard places where the cause will suffer great loss. But I feel sure that if we claim only what your father and mother claimed in the beginning, and what you yourself believe regarding the spirit of prophecy, we shall be able to stand against all these influences, and make Sister White's writings o continued value and service to this cause.

In responding to the minister, Daniells cautioned several times against "taking extreme positions" on the subject. He urged that the Testimonies, as well as the Bible should be studied as a whole to understand its component parts.78

He then presented the contextual background for the position taken in Vol. 9 regarding Sunday labor: the testimony was written concerning Sunday legislation in Australia at a time when the leadership there vitally needed such counsel. It was also written with the stern, unyielding position taken by the European leadership in an earlier crisis that resulted in authorities closing the Basel publishing house, selling its facilities to pay fines, and jailing the leader of the work in Europe. Believing that other areas of the world might need similar counsel, Mrs. White, according to Daniells, published that testimony in Volume 9. He continued:

I do not believe that the testimonies in Volume 9 contradict any former testimonies with regard to Sunday labor or any other points. We should bear in mind that Christian experience is progressive, and that the Testimonies have taught advanced principles year by year as the work has progressed and us the people have been prepared to receive new light. If you examine the first volumes of the Testimonies, you will find that only the A B C of many principles and truths were at first presented. These have been developed from time to time since. One who is hunting for technicalities and trying to find a basis for doubts will have opportunity to find apparent discrepancies in the Testimonies. This might also be said of the Scriptures. The Lord has seen fit to present the truth in such a way that those who are inclined to doubt can always find a peg on which to hang their doubts. It is my conviction, however, that there is a beautiful harmony running through all the Testimonies.

When Daniells sent a copy of his response to W. C. White, the latter read it to A. T. Robinson, C. C. Crisler and Mrs. White and W. C. White noted that they said "Amen, to what you have written." White asked Daniells' permission to make copies of the letter to distribute to others. He wrote Haskell that he considered it a "clear and forceful defense of Testimony Vol. 9, and of Mother's work in general." He was sure Haskell would enjoy reading it.79

Daniells was first exposed to the Prescott-Conradi position on the "daily" in traveling through Europe from Australia to the 1901 GC session. Although he did not immediately immerse himself in the subject, he eventually concluded that their position by "undeniable, indisputable facts" was correct. As did almost everyone who engaged in the debate, Daniells believed that the real issues involved far transcended the question over whether or not the "daily" represented paganism and when it was taken away. If that was the only issue, said Danielle, "I would not waste much of my time arguing with men who persist in making claims utterly at variance with all the reliable history of the world." Danielle believed he received great blessing and deep insight into the glorious Biblical truths concerning the ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary after having immersed himself in the study. Indeed, Danielle believed that the truth concerning the "efficacious work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary" should well have accompanied the presentation of righteousness by faith in 1888. No wonder, Danielle asserted,that Satan instituted the false system that he had through the Papacy. Danielle saw a controversy "whether the enemy shall bring in the most stupendous counterfeit that he has ever foisted upon the human family, and put it in place [of] the vital, fundamental truth regarding man's salvation."80

Although the statement in Early Writings concerning the Millerite "correctness" on the question of the "daily" initially troubled Daniells, his study of the contextual and historical background to the statement resolved the question for him. He concluded that the central point of the vision given Mrs, White concerned the "time" of the ending of the 2300 days, not the specifics of the theology concerning the "daily." Given this interpretation, the spirit of prophecy harmonized with the Bible and with the historical evidences Daniells believed were connected with it. He believed that this position "puts the spirit of prophecy on the side of the Scriptures, and on the side of authentic history, and it does not do any violence to the meaning of the testimony itself." Daniells believed that those who so interpreted the statement in Early Writings were the "truest friends of the gift of prophecy" and that "shortsighted expositors" were forcing a situation that would place the writings in an "indefensible position."81

Daniells believed himself justified in presenting his views of the "daily" at the seven union conference sessions of 1910 because of the L. A. Smith tract that alleged that those who held the "new view" did so in complete opposition to the spirit of prophecy teaching. Daniells believed that the influence of the General Conference officials holding that view was thereby being destroyed and required a response. He likewise bristled at the "fierce, fighting, arbitrary attitude" some held that defended the "old view." He decried the access some seemed to have to "private testimonies" concerning others. Daniells believed that "shockingly indiscreet" use was made of some of those testimonies. He wondered how it was that certain men "seemed to have their pockets full of personal testimonies."82

By the time that Mrs. White urged that "silence is eloquence" on the subject of the "daily," in August of 1910, Daniells considered that the issue had been virtually settled. While he intended not to continue the controversy, Daniells stated:

Scores and hundreds of our brethren who have been giving the subject study, and have become thoroughly convinced that the new view is right, will go on with their investigation, and will become more firmly established as the days go by. I think every Bible teacher in our Colleges in this country believes in the new view, and will teach it this way, if they teach anything at all regarding the daily.83

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