Minneapolis - 1888
All of us know that God began to pour out dew drops of the latter rain at the Minneapolis General Conference Session, and if the truth had been accepted by the brethren in session, Christ would have returned within a very short time.
The main message of the Conference was salvation by faith in Christ alone, and Ellen White rejoiced as this great basic truth of justification by faith was brought prominently to the front.
She wrote, “When Brother Waggoner brought out these ideas in Minneapolis, it was the first clear teaching on this subject from any human lips I had heard, excepting the conversations between myself and my husband…. And when another presented it, every fiber of my heart said, Amen.” Manuscript 5 p10. 5 Manuscript Release 1889. 1888 Materials p348.
However, she also said, “An unwillingness to yield up preconceived opinions, and to accept this truth, lay at the foundation of a large share of the opposition manifested at Minneapolis against the Lord's message through Brethren Waggoner and Jones. By exciting that opposition Satan succeeded in shutting away from our people, in a great measure, the special power of the Holy Spirit that God longed to impart to them…. The light that is to lighten the whole earth with its glory was resisted, and by the action of our own brethren has been in a great degree kept away from the world.” 1 Selected Messages p234.235.
In 1893, Brother A.T. Jones asked the brethren assembled at another General Conference Session, “What did the brethren reject at Minneapolis?” (Some in the congregation: ‘The loud cry’)
“What is the message of righteousness? The Testimony has told us what it is -- the loud cry: the latter rain. Then what did the brethren in that fearful position in which they stood, reject at Minneapolis? They rejected the latter rain – the loud cry of the third angel’s message…. and then the Spirit of the Lord, by His prophet, stood there and told us what they were doing – what then? Oh, they simply set this prophet aside with all the rest….’ ” General Conference Daily Bulletin. 1893. No.11.p68.
Sister White said of the General Conference in 1888, “If the rays of light which shone at Minneapolis were permitted to exert their convincing power upon those who took their stand against light, if all had yielded their ways, and submitted their wills to the Spirit of God at that time, they would have received the richest blessing…. But self said, No. Self was not willing to be bruised. Self struggled for the mastery.
Since that time, the Lord has given an abundance of evidence in messages of light and salvation. No more tender calls, no better opportunities, could be given them in order that they might do that which they ought to have done at Minneapolis. The light has been withdrawing from some, and ever since they have walked in sparks of their own kindling. No one can tell how much may be at stake when neglecting to comply with the call of the Spirit of God.
The time will come when many will be willing to do anything and everything possible in order to have a chance of hearing the call which they rejected at Minneapolis. God moved upon hearts, but many yielded to another spirit, which was moving upon their passions from beneath….
The sin committed in what took place at Minneapolis remains on the record books of heaven, registered against the names of those who resisted light; and it will remain upon the record until full confession is made and the transgressors stand in full humility before God.” Manuscript Release 16 p112.113. (Italics added)
In 1930, Leroy E Froom was asked by Arthur G Daniells to write a book that would be a “thorough survey of the entire plan of redemption – its principles, provisions, and divine Personalities – as they unfolded to our view as a Movement from 1844 onward, with special emphasis upon the developments of 1888 and its sequel.” ‘Movement of Destiny’. L.E.Froom.
Brother Froom said of this commission that he felt “awed by its magnitude and far-reaching character. I thought of it as for someone else, more mature and experienced, to undertake. No, he said, he felt it was for me to do – for I had gotten a vision of it, and had a background and burden for it.” “But”, said Daniells, “it is to be later – not yet, not yet.”
Continuing, “Elder Daniells recognised the serious problems involved and sensed almost prophetically certain difficulties that would confront. He knew that time would be required for certain theological wounds to heal, and for attitudes to modify on the part of some. Possibly it would be necessary to wait until certain individuals had dropped out of action before the needed portrayal could wisely be brought forth…” Ibid.
In his book ‘Movement of Destiny’, which is the fulfilment of the commission, Brother Froom gives his ‘historical’ assessment of Minneapolis.
“The epochal Minneapolis Session stands out like a mountain peak, towering above all other sessions in uniqueness and importance. It was a distinct turning point. Nothing like it had occurred before, and none has since been comparable to it. It definitely introduced a new epoch. After its initial conflict a period of revival and heart searching followed. And that which brought this about was the message of Righteousness by Faith in Christ as “all the fulness of the Godhead” – an expression that became a virtual keynote, stressed at the stormy session.
Christ was uplifted before the Conference as never before in our history, with a fulness that had not heretofore been envisioned or proclaimed. That was the crux of it all. 1888 therefore came to mark the beginning of a new note and a new day, the significance of which was not fully sensed at the time.
1888 was not a point of defeat, but a turn in the tide for ultimate victory. It was the beginning of decades of clarification and advance – despite struggles and setbacks. It eventuated at last in a unified platform of ‘Fundamental Beliefs’, preparatory to the grand climax of the Movement, assuredly destined to become. The Eternal Verities were coming into their rightful place. God was definitely leading, despite the continuing stubbornness of “some”…..” ‘Movement of Destiny’ p187.
It is difficult to read the account of Brother Jones, Sister White and Leroy Froom and believe they were all giving a report of the same meetings. It is true Sister White is speaking of those who rejected the message, however, when looking through her writings on the subject, there is no way the session at Minneapolis can be seen as a “turning point” for God.
Did Leroy Froom, the historian, rewrite Adventist history? He said, “The Eternal Verities were coming into their rightful place….”
What were these Eternal Verities?
It is interesting to note that Froom’s Eternal Verities were exactly the same as the doctrines by which Martin and Barnhouse could accept the Seventh-day Adventists as brothers – the Trinity – God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the Deity of Christ as the eternal second person of the Godhead; Christ’s sinless human nature in the Incarnation; the Person (God-Being) of the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Godhead; and the completed Atonement upon Calvary, but denying its other facets.
The term ‘Eternal Verities’ is Froom’s choice of words for these doctrines. There is nothing wrong with the words, but it came as a surprise to see them used in another setting.
“When the zealots of the primitive Christian Church sought to Christianise paganism, the pagan initiates retorted with a powerful effort to paganize Christianity. The Christians failed but the pagans succeeded. With the decline of paganism, the initiated pagan hierophants transferred their base of operations to the new vehicle of primitive Christianity, adopting the symbols of the new cult to conceal those eternal verities which are ever the priceless possession of the wise.” The Secret Teachings of all Ages. Manley P Hall pCLXXXV. (Emphasis added) Manley P Hall was a top Freemason, still revered today in Masonic circles.
Leroy Froom is buried in the Masonic section of the George Washington cemetery, Maryland, although it does not necessarily mean he was a Freemason. I phoned the cemetery and asked if non-Masons could be buried in the Masonic section of the cemetery and was told they could be. We can think, but we cannot certain. (Plot 860, Masonic B section. He died in 1974)
It is certainly prudent to consider whether the “Eternal Verities” of Freemasonry, and believed by Christendom at large, are the same pagan “eternal verities” Walter Martin and Donald Barnhouse rejoiced to hear our church leaders claim were the beliefs of the Adventist Church. Hard to believe? Maybe, but we need to realise it is possible when one considers the deception that has taken place in high circles.
Our prophet said: “The truth, sanctifying in its influence, must be urged upon the people. There must be earnest supplications offered to God, agonizing prayer to Him, that our hopes as a people may not be founded on suppositions, but on eternal realities. We must know for ourselves, by the evidence of God's Word, whether we are in the faith, going to heaven or not.” 2 Selected Messages p382. (Emphasis added)
Which will you believe – the eternal verities listed by Froom or the eternal realities taught us by the prophet?