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Ellen G. White: The Early Elmshaven Years: 1900-1905 (vol. 5)

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    The Response to Heaven's Call

    A solemn silence pervaded the assembly as Ellen White made her way to a chair. Elder Irwin stepped forward and said in response:5BIO 81.1

    These are certainly very plain words that we have listened to, and it seems to me they come in very timely, right in the commencement of our conference. We notice the burden of the testimony was reorganization. This must first begin with us as individuals, and I trust that it may begin in each heart. I, for one, want to accept the testimony that has been borne, and I want that work of reorganization and regeneration to be not only begun, but completed, in my life. I am glad that these words were spoken right now, at the very commencement of our General Conference.5BIO 81.2

    I take it that the reorganization means a change in our method of procedure, in the General Conference, and now, as we are just ready to organize the delegation that has been called, it seems to me it is an opportune time to begin the work of reorganization. I am sure we all want the Lord to lead in this conference; and if there is any method that we have been working along that has bound the Spirit of the Lord—and surely, if I can understand the meaning of what has been said, we have been bound about by regulations and restrictions—now is the time to break loose from these things, and to make a new start. So again I ask, What is the pleasure of the conference at this time?—Ibid., 27.5BIO 81.3

    What next took place came as no surprise to the president. A.G. Daniells, a man 43 years of age and in his prime, who for the past thirteen years had labored in New Zealand and Australia, now asked for the floor. He walked down to the front of the Tabernacle, mounted the stairs, and stepped up to the desk. He told of the meeting held in the college library on the preceding day, at which Ellen White had given similar counsel. He declared:5BIO 81.4

    We all feel that our only safety lies in obedience, in following our great Leader. We feel that we should begin at the very beginning of this work at this meeting, and just as nearly as we know how, build on His foundation.— Ibid.5BIO 82.1

    Then Elder Daniells offered the following comprehensive motion:5BIO 82.2

    “I move that the usual rules and precedents for arranging and transacting the business of the conference be suspended, and that a General Committee be hereby appointed, to consist of the following persons: The presidents and secretaries of the General Conference, of the General Conference Association, of the European and Australasian union conferences; of the Review and Herald, Pacific Press, and Echo publishing companies; of the Foreign Mission Board, Medical Missionary and Benevolent Association; of Battle Creek, Healdsburg, and Union colleges; and the following named persons: J. N. Loughborough, S. N. Haskell, A. T. Jones, W. W. Prescott, and such other persons as may be necessary to represent the important enterprises and interests connected with the work of the Seventh-day Adventists throughout the world, the same to be named by the committee when organized, and this committee to constitute a general or central committee, which shall do such work as necessarily must be done in forwarding the work of the conference, and preparing the business to bring before the delegates.”— Ibid.5BIO 82.3

    Elder Daniells confidently predicted that if we would “step out boldly to follow the light that He gives us, whether we can see clear through to the end or not—if we walk in the light we have, go just as far as we can today, God will give us further light; He will bring us out of bondage into glorious liberty.” In his closing remarks he expressed his appreciation that “we have a definite, certain voice to speak to us.” And he declared, “I am so glad that all through this meeting we can receive instruction and help....May God help us for His own name's sake.”— Ibid.5BIO 82.4

    The delegates then entered upon an earnest discussion of the proposal before them. When there seemed to be an overcautious attitude, Ellen White arose and urged that no one block what was being proposed. After a season of prayer, the matter was placed before the assembly and after a little more discussion and the answering of questions, the chair put the matter to the vote and the record is that it “was carried unanimously” (Ibid., 29.5BIO 82.5

    The session was adjourned to meet again at three o'clock in the afternoon, with a Bible study to be given by Elder Haskell.5BIO 83.1

    The large committee that had been appointed became known as the Committee on Counsel. The next day a number of names were added, raising the members to about seventy-five. In response to some questions from some fearful delegates, all were assured that it was not the intent of this committee to take over the business of the Conference, but rather to guide the work of the session along the lines suggested by Ellen White.5BIO 83.2

    Sermons, Bible studies, reports from the various parts of the world field, and devotional meetings filled much of the next few days while the Committee on Counsel tackled its rather amorphous task of reorganization.5BIO 83.3

    Changes had been called for by the Lord. Changes had to be made. Steps must be taken that would distribute the responsibility of men to points near where the work was being done.5BIO 83.4

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