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Ellen G. White: The Early Years: 1827-1862 (vol. 1)

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    The Promise of a Way Out

    Things had reached a state where a permanent plan had to be found to provide financial resources for the growing church. It was in these circumstances (according to J. N. Loughborough, who was to become known somewhat as a historian among the pioneers, and at the time was very closely associated with James and Ellen White) that “Sister White stated to her husband, ‘The Lord has shown me that, if you will call the ministers together, and have J. N. Andrews come down from Waukon, and hold a Bible class, you will find that in the Scriptures there is a complete plan to sustaining the work of the ministry.’”—Pacific Union Recorder, October 6, 1910.1BIO 387.6

    James White did call for Andrews to come to Battle Creek for such a study, which took place in mid-January, 1859. [Depending on his memory for the dates of this circumstance, loughborough fixed it early in 1858. Contemporary records place it early in 1859.] White, who had planned to spend most of January on a trip north, stayed by in Battle Creek. Loughborough wrote concerning the conclusions of the study:1BIO 388.1

    The Bible class was held in Battle Creek for two days, and at the end of it our brethren said, “The tithing system is just as binding as it ever was.” They said, however, in first introducing it, “Let us call it Systematic Benevolence on the tithing principle.”—Ibid.1BIO 388.2

    As the details of this development are presented it is important to keep in mind that the church was without organization but was held together by strong leaders, one of whom possessed the special guidance of the Holy Spirit. These, working together close to the publishing office, kept in touch through the Review with the churches and with scattered believers throughout the East and the Midwest. The steps taken by the Battle Creek church provided an example to the other churches. The framework of an organizational structure was coming into being. At this point, however, the leaders of the cause could speak in an official way only for the Battle Creek church, of which they were members. Progressive actions of the Battle Creek church were carefully reported in the Review and Herald and thus carried to all Sabbathkeeping Adventists.1BIO 388.3

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