everlasting-gospels.gif A Foundation For Cooperation-1

April 18 - A Foundation For Cooperation-1



I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. John 10:16, RSV.

With their reinterpretations of the shut door and the fall of Babylon, James and Ellen White had created a theological foundation for Adventism's cooperation with other Christian bodies. Such partnership became increasingly more of an issue as Seventh-day Adventists realized that the Second Advent wasn't as close as they had at first expected.

But association with "outsiders" would bring its own strains into the denomination that would divide Adventist thinking into what we might think of as "moderate" and "hardline" orientations. The moderates would come to favor cooperation that did not compromise the theological and ethical integrity of the movement, while the hardliners would ahve a difficult time working with any group that did not see things exactly as they did.

A case in point is Adventism's relationship to the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). The movement obviously had some good ideas(i.e., truth). After all, it advocated temperance-a topic in line with Adventism's concerns. As a result, as early as 1877 the Adventists began uniting their efforts with the WCTU.

So far, so good, in terms of the WCTU. They seemed to be nice Christian women. But then in 1887 they muddied the waters by aligning themselves with the National Reform Association in its drive to gain national legislation for Sunday sacredness. That same year the WCTU added a Sabbath (Sunday) Observance Department to its own organization. The next year it supported the national Sunday bill set forth by Senator Blair.

Such steps definitely made the WCTU look more like it was rapidly moving toward a fully developed Babylon in the eyes of some Adventists. While having "the truth" on temperance, it at the same time supported "error" on the Sabbath issue. Some Adventists concluded that if that isn't confusion or Babylon, what is? Such developments continued to cause concern in the Adventist ranks throughout the 1890s.

Those are the facts of the case. Today's assignment Discuss with others or think about the proper attitude and course of action to take in such a situation.

Why did you make the choice(s) you did? What principles undergirded your decision? How do these issues affect what it means to be a Christian Adventist in today's world?.

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And all the way up the steep road leading to eternal life are well-springs of joy to refresh the weary. Those who walk in wisdom's ways are, even in tribulation, exceeding joyful; for He whom their soul loveth, walks, invisible, beside them. At each upward step they discern more distinctly the touch of His hand; at every step brighter gleamings of glory from the Unseen fall upon their path; and their songs of praise, reaching ever a higher note, ascend to join the songs of angels before the throne(TFMB 140).