Forewarned Was Forearmed
In those years of crisis there was one point of danger that I think none of the
brethren had foreseen. I do not recall a suggestion of it round our new General Conference
headquarters in Washington. Then came from California messages by the Spirit of prophecy
saying that effort would be made by some not in sympathy with the General Conference to
get control of our old Battle Creek Tabernacle.
In documents passed to us in those times was the following message to a veteran of the
publishing work from the days of the first printing office, in Rochester, New York, to the
later times of the old Review and Herald Officeour aged Brother G. W. Amadon. For some
years he had been senior elder in the Battle Creek church, giving his time to church work.
The message read:
"I wish to say to you and to the leading men in the church, and to the trustees of
the Tabernacle, that light has been given to me very distinctly that Elder (A.T.J.) has
taken a position that divorces him from the privileges of the use of the Tabernacle. He
does not know what spirit is leading him. Efforts are being made to get possession of the
Tabernacle. Brethren, be on guard. Keep burnished for action the weapon of your warfare,
which is the Word of God. Pray, believe, and walk humbly with God; and let your prayers be
without ceasing, that God shall be glorified. Make a most earnest effort to call to Battle
Creek the very best ministerial talent, men of experience in the early days of the
message, men who will give the trumpet a certain sound. Hold the fort. Do not let it be
taken by those who have placed themselves decidedly in a position of opposition to the
truth which God has given us for these last days.
"Our call is, Come out from among them, and be ye separate; and the Tabernacle
should be set apart decidedly to those who are true and loyal.
"Those who have denied the faith, and who should tear down that which in past
years they have labored to build up, should understand that they have no let nor part in
the faith that has firmly held the people of God in unity. You do not know how earnestly
they will work to get possession of the Tabernacle. But this must not be permitted. In no
case should a decidedly opposing element be permitted to hold forth in the
It was certainly a sounding of the trumpet, calling the brethren of the old Tabernacle
to be on guard. And, sure enough, the time came quickly when they
needed to be on guard.
In those days Elder M. N. Campbell was called to the pastorate in this, our largest
church. He saw the danger come, of which the brethren had been forewarned. I heard him
tell the story briefly at a union conference session. It was this, as told in his own
In the year 1907 a strong feeling prevailed in the Battle Creek church that a certain
group of men representing an institution which at that time was at outs with the movement,
was trying to get a controlling voice in the Tabernacle affairs. On various occasion they
had made it quite clear that they would be glad to see the property so held as to enable
the representatives of the institution to use it whenever they saw fit.
"I was pastor of the church at that time and felt that steps should be taken to
safeguard the property. A legal meeting had been appointed for a certain evening to
re-incorporate the legal body which held the church property. It appears that in Michigan
corporations can continue for only thirty years. The corporation which held the Tabernacle
property had lapsed, and it was necessary to re-incorporate. At this meeting the
representatives referred to were there in full force. They were accompanied by an attorney
who had been a judge as well as a lawyer.
"Just before the meeting I had called the church elders together for counsel. A
feeling of depression had taken possession of their hearts when they learned the strength
of the forces we would have to meet in the meeting about to follow. They felt that our
case was hopeless. One dear old brother kept groaning: 'O, if only Sister White were
here!' It was our veteran Brother Amadon, who had seen Mrs. White bearing testimony in the
early days, leading through crises of opposition. I endeavored to awaken faith and
confidence in the hearts of the brethren. I knew that if we went into the legal meeting
with our men in a discouraged state to begin with, it would be practically impossible to
bring anything to pass. I was praying very earnestly for the Lord to bring courage and
deliverance to us in some fashion.
"About five minutes before we were to walk into the larger meeting, a telegram
came from Mrs. White in which were the words: "Philippians one, twenty-seven,
twenty-eight." We opened our Bibles and found these verses reading as follows:
"'Only let you conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I
come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one
spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; and in nothing
terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you
of salvation and that of God.'
"As these words were read the brethren realized that the Lord was present, and
that He would work in our behalf. Courage and confidence came. And we walked into that
legal meeting with victory in our hearts. In spite of the opposition that was met with, a
complete victory was won. The tabernacle administration was re-incorporated and the
property deeded over to the West Michigan Conference to make sure it was for ever to be
under the control of the denominational organization that had built it, for the preaching
of the advent message."