Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers


The Setting of the 1888 Minneapolis Conference

One of the enemy's most effective measures was to lead good men to take positions which ultimately brought hindrance to the work they loved. This was seen in the spirit which developed in the hearts of men who engaged in discussions and debates. It was seen in the experience of businessmen connected with the cause. It was seen in the experience of missionaries going out to new countries, who, with narrow concepts of the work, found it difficult to move forward in the way God would have them take. It was seen in the tendency shown by some to depend upon the leaders at Battle Creek for guidance in the minute affairs of a far-flung mission work. It was seen in the way leading men at Battle Creek, heavily burdened with institutional work, attempted to give detailed direction to the work in distant lands of which they knew little. TM xxi.2

As the Seventh-day Adventist Church came to the Close of the year 1887, it had a total world membership of 25,841, with twenty-six local conferences and one mission in North America and four local conferences and six missions overseas. The General Conference Committee consisted of seven men, the Committee having been cautiously enlarged in 1882 from three members to five and in 1886 from five to seven. To take care of the legal business of the cause, the General Conference Association had been formed with a Board of five Trustees. Various branches of the work had developed into somewhat autonomous organizations, such as the “International Sabbath School Association,” The “Health and Temperance Association,” and the “International Tract and Missionary Association.” As has been noted, for two years, mid-1885 to 1887, Ellen White had been in Europe. Now she was back in the United States, residing at her Healdsburg, California, home. There were two publishing houses in operation in the United States: the Review and Herald in Battle Creek, Michigan, and the Pacific Press in Oakland, California. Each of these publishing houses did considerable commercial work to keep its equipment and personnel fully employed, and thus to maintain facilities needed for denominational printing. At each of these offices a leading journal was published, The Review and Herald in Battle Creek and Signs of the Times In Oakland. TM xxi.3

During the preceding year or two some differences of opinion had been expressed in articles appearing in these journals, concerning the law in Galatians. In each case the editors of the journals championed opposing positions. Ellen White, while still in Switzerland, wrote to the editors of Signs of the Times counseling against publishing articles with conflicting views. This message is to be found in Counsels to Writers and Editors, 75-82. TM xxii.1