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    Giving Exposure to Differing Doctrinal Viewpoints; Disapproval of D. M. Canright's Actions

    (Written April 5, 1887, from Basel, Switzerland, to “Dear Brethren [G. I.] Butler and [Uriah] Smith.”)

    I have sent copies of letters written to Brethren [E. J.] Waggoner and [A. T.] Jones to Elder [G. I.] Butler in reference to introducing and keeping in front and making prominent subjects on which there are differences of opinion. I sent this not that you should make them weapons to use against the brethren mentioned, but that the very same cautions and carefulness be exercised by you to preserve harmony as you would have these brethren exercise.1888 32.1

    I am troubled; for the life of me I cannot remember that which I have been shown in reference to the two laws. I cannot remember what the caution and warning referred to were that were given to Elder [J. H.] Waggoner. It may be that it was a caution not to make his ideas prominent at that time, for there was great danger of disunion.1888 32.2

    Now, I do not wish the letters that I have sent to you should be used in a way that you will take it for granted that your ideas are all correct and Dr. Waggoner's and Elder Jones's are all wrong.1888 32.3

    I was pained when I saw your article in the Review, and for the last half hour I have been reading the references preceding your pamphlet.*Elder Butler's 85-page pamphlet bore the title, The Law in the Book of Galatians: Is It the Moral Law, or Does It Refer to that System of Laws Peculiarly Jewish? It was distributed to the delegates who attended the 1886 General Conference session. Now, my brother, things that you have said, many of them are all right. The principles that you refer to are right; but how this can harmonize with your pointed remarks to Dr. Waggoner, I cannot see. I think you are too sharp. And then when this is followed by a pamphlet published of your own views, be assured I cannot feel that you are just right at this point to do this unless you give the same liberty to Dr. Waggoner.1888 32.4

    Had you avoided the question, which you state has been done, it would have been more in accordance with the light God has seen fit to give to me. I have had some impressive dreams*See Testimonies for the Church 5:571-573. that have led me to feel that you are not altogether in the light. Elder [D. M.] Canright was presenting his ideas upon the law, and such a mixed up concern I never heard. Neither of you seemed to see or understand where his arguments would lead to.1888 33.1

    You seemed to be sitting in a boat in a shadow, and Elder Canright was turning the light down lower and lower.1888 33.2

    And then someone said, “We have had enough of this. All this is as the shadow of night; it is the work of Satan.”1888 33.3

    Next he started up uneasy, groaning, and seemed to be like a man paralyzed, and declared he would leave the boat. He saw one that was sailing faster, and all on board apparently were happy. [There was] music and singing. He said, “I am going into that boat. I think this boat will go to pieces.”1888 33.4

    The Captain stood firmly and said, “I know every piece of timber in the ship, and it will outride every storm. But that boat has worm-eaten and decaying timbers. It will not endure the tempest.”1888 33.5

    I thought he said, “I am going on that boat if I perish with it.”1888 34.1

    Now, my brethren, I do not feel very happy and reassured when I think you have encouraged Elder Canright in giving lessons to the students in the college, and in pouring into the Review such a mass of matter as though he were bishop of the Methodist Church.1888 34.2

    And then when that objectionable article came out, even if it did come out while Elder [Uriah] Smith was not present, who of you laid this matter open before him?1888 34.3

    It seems I had to write him and speak plainly on this point. And he has used every check put on him by myself as a cause to throw himself.1888 34.4

    I think if you had done your duty, I should not have been called upon to write to him. I have been shown and have told him that he was a loose writer, that he was ever seeking to be original, and that he gave assertion for proof; that he did not live and walk with God so that he could be a safe writer.1888 34.5

    I advised his books to be suppressed, especially the one on the law, the very subject he was conversing with you in regard to. If that work is what I believe it to be, I would burn every copy in the fire before one should be given out to our people.1888 34.6

    And after his apostasy,*Canright left the Seventh-day Adventist Church permanently in February, 1887. why need you say the things in regard to him you have? God did not treat apostates in this way, and if you had anything to say, say it without putting such things in the paper. I tell you, brethren, I am troubled when I see you take positions that you forbid others to take and that you would condemn in others. I do not think this is the right way to deal with one another.1888 34.7

    I want to see no Pharisaism among us. The matter now has been brought so fully before the people by yourself as well as Dr. Waggoner, that it must be met fairly and squarely in open discussion. I see no other way, and if this cannot be done without a spirit of Pharisaism, then let us stop publishing these matters and learn more fully lessons in the school of Christ.1888 35.1

    I believe now that nothing can be done but open discussion. You circulated your pamphlet; now it is only fair that Dr. Waggoner should have just as fair a chance as you have had. I think the whole thing is not in God's order. But, brethren, we must have no unfairness. We must work as Christians. If we have any point that is not fully, clearly defined, and [that] can bear the test of criticism, don't be afraid or too proud to yield it.1888 35.2

    I hope nothing I have sent you will be used to do a work the very opposite of that which I designed it should do. May the Lord help us, for the days of peril are upon us.1888 35.3

    I cannot tell you how contemptible the course of Elder Canright is in my eyes. I can see farther in this matter from that which the Lord has shown me, than you can. But his course, his sudden change, speaks for itself. I believe we will have to have far more of the Spirit of God in order to escape the perils of these last days.1888 35.4

    My brethren, we want self and pride in us to die. Self will struggle hard for an existence and for the mastery, but nevertheless it must die and we become as little children, or we shall never see the kingdom of heaven. We want to be imbued with the Spirit of Christ.1888 35.5

    We see more and greater need of close communion with God and greater need of unity. Let us devote much time to seeking for heavenly wisdom. Let us be much with God in prayer. We want Bible evidence for every point we advance. We do not want to tide over points, as Elder Canright has done, with assertions.1888 36.1

    What we want in every conflict is not words to condemn but the sword of the Spirit. We want the truth as it is in Jesus. We want to be filled with all the fullness of God, and have the meekness and lowliness of Christ.1888 36.2

    We have a wily foe who will seize your sword and turn it against you unless you know how to use it skillfully. But let none feel that we know all the truth the Bible proclaims.1888 36.3

    Elder Canright's course is contemptible, and do not seek to palliate it with soft words or smooth speeches.1888 36.4

    I do not lose my faith in God nor in you, my brethren; neither do I consider that you are above temptations, but you are liable to make mistakes. One thing I do know: God will help us if we will seek Him most earnestly.1888 36.5

    The gospel is not all peace. I have many conflicts; I have many wakeful hours; but I try to cast all my cares and burdens on Jesus. Painful doubts and fears assail me lest I shall not be faithful in the discharge of my every duty.1888 36.6

    We will move steadfastly on, looking to Jesus, learning of Jesus, obtaining the love of Jesus, our hearts melted in tenderness toward each other.1888 36.7

    The religion of Christ, I testify, is not one of gloom but of gladness. But when the gloom comes, then we must battle. Fight every inch by faith until we can triumph in faith. While we have cause to grieve over the sinfulness of others, we must pray more and cling more firmly to the promises.—Letter 13, 1887.1888 37.1

    Ellen G. White Estate
    Washington, D. C.
    October 30, 1986. Entire Letter.

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