And What About Death?-4

April 3  And What About Death?-4


Can we know what this new doctrine is that you are teaching? Some of the things you say seemed startling to us and we would like to find out what they mean. Acts 17:19, 20, New Jerusalem.

If Paul's respondent at Athens had a desire to learn more about the new doctrine the apostle taught, the same certainly can not be said about the Millierite leaders in relationship to Storrs' understanding on the state of the dead.

On May 7, 1844, Miller published a letter in which he disclaimed "any connection, fellowship, or sympathy with Br. Storrs' views on the intermediate state, and end of the wicked." In April Josiah Litch went so far as to begin publishing a periodical entitled The Anti Annihilationist. The general Millerite approach was to stter clear of the topic. Jesus would come in a few weeks, and then we would all know the truth of the matter.

Such pronouncements, of course, did not do much to silence Storrs and his colleagues.

And their agitaion bore fruit. in subsequent years the two largest denominations to come out of Millerism-the Advent Christians and the Seventh-day Adventists-would both adopt conditionalism and annihilationism.

If Storrs' teaching was one avenue through which conditionalism entered Adventism, the Christian Connexion was another. Elias Smith, one of the Connexion's founders, had accepted the teaching early in the century. And many Connexionists, with their desire to restore all the lost Bible teachings, emphasized both conditionalism and annihilationism. That influenced both James White and Jeseph Bates, who had both been members of the Connexion.

The Connexion position on the topic would also sway young Ellen Harmon after hre mother accepted it at the Casco Street Christian (Connexion) Church in Portland, Maine. After hearing her mother discuss it with a friend, she investigated it in the Bible and accepted it. Those insights brought her great relief of both mind and heart. Not only did they dissipate her doubts about God's love and justice, but they helped her see the reason for the resurrection. After all, as she put it, "if at death the soul entered upon eternal happiness or misery, where was the nedd of a resurrection of the poor moldering body?"(LS 49, 50).

Thus all three of Sabbatarian Adventism's founders were conditionalists from the very founding of the movement.


Thank You, Lord, for both Your great promises and for beliefs that make consistant and  vital sense.