Early Writings


The Call for Church Organization

But with these new opportunities, and with a larger number of people accepting the message, a few discordant elements came into their midst. If these had not been checked, the work would have been greatly injured. But here again we see the providence of God in guiding his people, for on December 24, 1850, in a vision given to Ellen White, she tells us: EW xxx.4

“‘I saw how great and holy God was. Said the angel, “Walk carefully before Him, for He is high and lifted up, and the train of His glory fills the temple.” I saw that everything in heaven was in perfect order. Said the angel, “Look ye, Christ is the head, move in order, move in order. Have a meaning to everything.” Said the angel, “Behold ye and know how perfect, how beautiful, the order in heaven; follow it.”’”—Ellen G. White Manuscript 11, 1850. EW xxx.5

It took time to lead the believers generally to appreciate the needs and value of gospel order. Their past experiences in the Protestant churches from which they had separated led them to be cautious. Except in those places where the practical need was very evident, fear of inviting formality held the believers back from church organization. It was not until a decade after the vision of 1850 that more mature plans for organization were finally effected. Undoubtedly a factor of primary importance in bringing the efforts to fruition was a comprehensive chapter entitled “Gospel Order,” Published in the Supplement to the Christian Experience and Views of Ellen G. White. This appears in this work as pages 97-104. EW xxxi.1

In 1860, in connection with the organizing of the publishing work, a name was chosen. Some thought that “Church of God” would be appropriate, but the sentiment prevailed that the name should reflect the distinctive teachings of the church. They adopted “Seventh-day Adventist” as their name. The following year some companies of believers organized themselves into churches, and the churches in Michigan formed a State conference. Soon there were several State conferences. Then in May, 1863, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists was organized. This takes us five years beyond the time of Early Writings. EW xxxi.2