Ellen G. White: The Lonely Years: 1876-1891 (vol. 3)


Battle Creek College Reopens

With a more accurate comprehension of the whole situation on the part of the Battle Creek church, and upon its members making a thorough confession and a pledge of loyalty to the Spirit of Prophecy and to church leadership, the board of trustees of Battle Creek College looked forward to the reopening of the college. Butler, chairman of the board, as well as president of the General Conference, presented an extended statement on the situation in the Review of July 31, 1883, under the title of “Our College at Battle Creek“: 3BIO 231.1

Let us consider some of the questions involved in the reopening of the college. It has remained closed for one year. Why? Because as conducted for some time previous to its closing, it did not answer the purpose for which it was established. And further, because the state of feeling existing in the community surrounding it was such that those to whom its management was entrusted felt that there was no reasonable hope that a better state of things could then be obtained.... 3BIO 231.2

The last year the college was opened a crisis was reached. The principal employed was a man of little experience in this message, who seemed to think he knew better what was needed than those of long experience in the work. His ideas were sanctioned by many of the church and many of the students. The wrong tendency above mentioned was greatly strengthened. The influence of some of the older teachers was cut off, and their lot made very bitter. The authority of the board of trustees was treated with contempt and defiance.... 3BIO 231.3

A very different spirit is manifest in the church at Battle Creek the present year from that which was seen last year. Many persons have expressed themselves as deeply regretting the course they pursued in the troubles of the college. We have met in our travels quite a number of our young men whose influence was cast against the board, who have come to us and expressed much regret at the course they pursued.... All these things prepare the way for the college to open with favorable prospects of success. 3BIO 231.4

Yet there are great difficulties to be met if we have such a school as will meet the mind of the Spirit of God. It will require men of sound judgment, deep piety, and those whose whole hearts are enlisted in the work of God, to mold and manage it, if it ever fully succeeds.... 3BIO 231.5

To bring about the true spirit in our college will require a great effort. To secure proper officers and teachers who will exert the right influences, and bring into the school the Spirit of Christ, and lead the minds of the pupils to the truth, is a difficult problem, and one which the board of trustees is now trying to solve. We hope for such success as will enable us soon to announce the time when our college will open. 3BIO 232.1

The Review and Herald, August 14, 1883, carried the announcement that Battle Creek College would open Wednesday, September 5, for the coming college year. 3BIO 232.2

Eighty students were present for the opening. W. H. Littlejohn, who had shown his loyalty to the church and to the Spirit of Prophecy counsels, had been chosen president. He served for two years. 3BIO 232.3

The operation of the college was in the hands of the SDA Educational Society; school matters would come to its attention at the annual meeting to be held during the General Conference session. 3BIO 232.4