At Issue Index   EGW Index   Spicer Index   Previous   Next 

How the Spirit of Prophecy Met a Crisis:
Memories and Notes of the "Living Temple" Controversy
by W. A. Spicer


Changes That Brought No Change

The persistence of erroneous ideas of the mystical sort is something passing comprehension. There is a more than natural force behind the teachings. These ideas that we faced in the first decade of this century were determined to gain a recognized place in our teaching, despite all the warnings.

Among the messages of the Spirit of prophecy that followed the exposures and warnings at the time of the Autumn Council of 1903, was one, entitled, "Seductive Influences." As it was never, I think, put in printed form I will not quote from it. In effect it told the general brethren,—

If error does not succeed in getting fast hold, because of warnings from God, it changes somewhat its features, while working in more covered ways seeking to deceive if possible the very elect.

We saw the application of these warnings very soon. We think not so much of the promoters of the views, who themselves did not understand. We think of the evil one behind it all who was working unceasingly to fasten fatal error upon the movement.

Soon after the Council of 1903 the book, "Living Temple," was brought out under another name, with some things that had been objected to eliminated. It was republished under the title, "The Miracle of Life." Friends of the new movement were quick to point to this as a sign that the author had accepted correction and that now all was well. To one such, a medical associate who had formerly been on of our ministers, Mrs. White wrote (July 31, 1904):

"It will be said that 'Living Temple' has been revised. But the Lord has shown me that Dr. __________ has not changed, and that  there can be no unity between him and the ministers of the gospel while he continues to cherish his present sentiments. I am bidden to lift my voice in warning to our people saying, 'Be not deceived; 'God is not mocked!'

Friends thought there was a change, but the agent of the Spirit of prophecy 


said there was no change. A few months afforded ample evidence that the Spirit of prophecy knee the facts. Not very long after this, I was in England. In London I saw a copy of a journal called "The Herald of the Golden Age." It was the organ of a society called the "Order of the Golden Age," devoted to food and other reforms, along the lines of the new-thought propaganda. The editorial led out:

"In response to a great influx of spiritual illumination from higher spheres, there is apparent in every country of our Western World at the present time, a wonderful awakening on the part of more  highly evolved souls, to the fact that it is our privilege to attain freedom from bondage to prevalent materialistic thought."

The editor then went on to speak of a new book called, "The Living Temple," saying:

 "The Council of the Order is so impressed with the importance and value of this book, and feels so strongly that the information contained in its pages would prove of the greatest value to our members, co-workers, and converts, that a special arrangement   has been made with the proprietors for it to be supplied direct to the English public from our Publishing Office."

In the advertising columns the book was featured; and along-side it was featured the "Life of Dr. Anna Kingsford"—"a rare and wonderful book that teaches much concerning transcendental truth and the higher forms of Spiritualism." In such association was the book promoted in England at the time when many in America thought that its teachings had been repudiated by the author. Invariably, during those years, the messages of the Spirit of prophecy came with an accuracy and timeliness that count not have been the result of mere human foresight and discernment.

In the summer of 1903, before the opening up of the issue, some of our tract societies had taken the book for sale to our people, not knowing that some of its teachings were under question. One over-sea tract society sold a copy to a non-Adventist customer. Ere long the purchaser visited the office to tell how much he appreciated the book, adding: "You Seventh-day Adventists are Theosophists, and you don't know it."

So close were we to being swept off our foundations by a flood of mystical 


teachings. But it was worked out for us by a guiding gift that gave warning at every turn on the right hand and on the left. When the enemy came in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord lifted up a standard against it.

At Issue Index   EGW Index   Spicer Index   Previous   Next