committed to historic Baptist & Reformed beliefs

 

 

Chapter 22

EIGHTEEN HUNDRED TO PRESENT DATE A.D.

 In the Latter Times Some Shall Depart from the Faith

Those familiar with the Old Testament history of the church know of Israel's repeated backslidings, how they departed from righteousness in times of peace and prosperity, but when God punished them with disease, drought, and defeat in battle, they would turn to Him in submission and obedience. It was true then, and still is today, that, "When God's judgments are in the earth, the people learn righteousness. " Israel's conduct before God in times past, tells the story of succeeding generations down through the history of time. Persecutions and adversity have always stirred to action the very best qualities hidden in the hearts of God's elect, and brought them to action, in humble submission and obedience. Thus we find as the church passed through the years of persecution during her wilderness experience, the people remained pious, loyal, and prayerful.

As we enter the period when the "Earth helped the woman," and the true followers of Christ came to America, where they could worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience, filled with holy zeal, these humble servants of God founded congregations of pious men and women, holding to the Bible name, and the true doctrine, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

It is to be regretted, however, that some among the oldest of these congregations which are still in existence have, like Israel of old, departed to some degree, from the old paths in which their forefathers trod. While they still hold to the true Sabbath and baptism these certain congregations have taken an unscriptural gospel, and several other important tenets of faith.

This has been true of the church established at Newport, Rhode Island, and a number of other cities of the east, which we have mentioned on previous pages of this work, including the church at Shrewsbury, N.J., which emigrated in a body to what is now Salem, W.Va.

 

The Seventh Day Baptists

While the Sabbath-keepers of Europe were under the fire of persecution, and being driven from one country to another, they were humble and devoted to God. They trusted in the Lord to lead and deliver, and were fervent and instant in prayer, and earnest in spirit. However, after they came to America, and had enjoyed for a hundred years, or more, the religious liberties granted first by the charter of William Penn, and later extended to other colonies, some ceased to pray as earnestly as before, and settled down to a state of formality in worship, depending upon the laws of man for security, instead of the intervening hand of God. Consequently, some began gradually drifting away from the former piety and love for the Bible, and the Bible only, for their faith and practice, and took upon themselves another name besides the divinely given of God. In their history in America, this was mainly among the first signs which marked their drift toward the world.

In later records of the early Sabbatarians, who later became known as Seventh Day Baptists, we find them using the name the church of Christ, and the church of Jesus Christ. See Seventh Day Baptist Memorial, Vol. 2, p. 27.

Often the names, the Church of God, and the Church of Christ, were used interchangeably. -- Randolph, History of Seventh Day Baptists, pp. 11, 12.

In later records we find the name, Sabbatarian Church of Christ, and Seventh Day Baptist Church of Christ. Later the words "of Christ" were dropped, and these people became known as Seventh Day Baptists. -- Idem, p. 36, Vol. 2 No. 1.

After the church at Newport had faithfully held the true light aloft for one hundred and forty-five years, in obtaining a charter the year 1819, their name was registered as "The Seventh Day Baptist Church of Christ."

We get the following from the History of the Seventh Day Baptists in America, Vol. 2, page 610: "There were no by-laws, constitution, charter, or articles of faith, save the scriptures, which were considered all of these." On speaking of the west Newport church, or Hopkinton church, it further says on this page, "There seems to have been no special thought that it should have any special name . . . . It was referred to as the Sabbatarian church in Westerly (1758). In Hopkinton the church was known as the Hopkinton church."

Sixty-one years later (1880) the name "Church of Christ" had been dropped and the name "Seventh Day Baptist" retained, and a charter given that year under title of "The First Seventh Day Baptist Church" by the state legislature.

Thus we see how, by consecutive stages, the divine scriptural titles are supplanted by worldly names, which could not be pleasing, or bring rejoicing, to the divine courts of heaven.

We have given previously a record where the church at Shrewsbury, N.J., called themselves the Church of God.

The record of the history of this Sabbatarian church at Shrewsbury, N.J., begins as follows:

"This is a book of records of the settlement and proceedings of the Church of Christ, keeping the commandments of God, particularly the Holy Seventh Day, with the rest of the commandments of God, and believing and practicing the Holy Ordinances of the Gospel of Christ and the doctrines thereof." . . . pp. 11, 12, Randolph's History of the Seventh Day Baptists.

A later record reads:

"The Church of Christ in Shrewsbury and Middletown in the observation of God's Holy Sanctified Sabbath. First agreed to, the -- (day) of the sixth month, 1774 . . .13th. We believe that a company of sincere persons may truly be said to be the Church of God." -- Idem, p. 20.

It was the Shrewsbury church which in 1789 emigrated to Salem, West Virginia. The people from Shrewsbury founded the town of New Salem, Va., now Salem, West Virginia.

Although we know from the records above quoted, the Shrewsbury church was called the "Church of Christ" and the "Church of God," (while in New Jersey), it is a fact that when the church was reorganized, at Salem, the Bible name was dropped, and the members denominated themselves "The Seventh Day Baptists," which name is held by them until this present day.

It is an evident fact, however, that all of the Shrewsbury members who settled at Salem did not approve of the departure from the Bible for a church name, for upon settling in other parts of the State, and organizing other Sabbatarian bodies we find at least one church re-adopted the name "the Church of Christ." In addition to Sabbath-keeping, and believers' baptism, by immersion, some of these members in these assemblies observed other kindred truths held by the "Church of God" down through the centuries. The following extracts will bring out these facts:

Feet washing was practiced by some of the early congregations of the people now called Seventh Day Baptists. The following extract is taken from an epistle written by the Shrewsbury Church of Christ, in 1790 to another sister congregation. We quote:

"And now, dear Brethren, we shall use the freedom to acquaint you with one thing, and do heartily desire to recommend it to your serious and Christian consideration, and that is about the duty of washing one another's feet.

"This is a duty and work which some of us have been long thoughtful and in part persuaded of . . . and have concluded to put it in practice some time since, in the following manner; viz, at the . . . Lord's Supper . . . the Elder, in imitation of the Lord, takes a towel and girds himself; then he pours water in a basin and begins to wash the disciples' (viz., the brethren's) feet, and from him they take it, and the brethren to the brethren, and the sisters to the sisters, they wash one another's feet through the present assembly." -- page 15, Randolph's History of the Seventh Day Baptists.

"The practice of feet-washing was continued by this church after its removal to Virginia (now Salem, W.Va.) but was probably abandoned at sometime during the first half of the nineteenth century . . . ." -- Idem, p. 15.

Clark in his history of the Sabbatarians, page 64, states: "Some of these (western Virginia) churches, believe in the washing of one another's feet, at appointed times, etc., but the Sabbath and Baptism are their distinguishing tenets . . ."

Concerning the Passover, or the Lord's Supper, in at least one assembly of the early Sabbatarians in West Virginia, the following is illustrative:

"March 21, 1853, it was voted that communion service be held once in twelve months `on the fourteenth day of the first Jewish month'; i. e., on the evening of the Passover." -- Idem,, p. 201.

The diet of some of the early Sabbatarians in West Virginia, can be understood from the following extract concerning the South Fork of Hughes River Church in 1849:

"In their efforts to follow the mandates of the Mosaic law, the flesh of swine for food was placed under ban. Mutton and beef tallow took the place of lard in cooking. A few of the more well-to-do used olive oil." -- Idem, p. 203.

This church was called the "Church of Christ" in its records as given on page 20, and the Sabbath-keeping body at Lost Creek, W.Va., was also organized with the same name "Church of Christ," as recorded on page 146 of this same history.

Another congregation of early Sabbatarians settled on the South Fork of Hughes River in West Virginia, in Richie County, and among them were leaders who taught contrary to the Sabbatarians then known as Seventh Day Baptists. Of these Christians it is recorded that they "taught obedience to the Ceremonial Law, and enforced on the church, contrary to the faith of the (Seventh Day Baptist) Denomination, abstinence from certain meats, peculiarities of dress, and urged that the church should be governed by elders exclusively." -- Idem, p. 213.

The above records, we feel justified in saying, are enough to convince the most skeptical of our readers that the Lord left Himself not without witness during the centuries following the colonization of America; but that wherever these saints of God went, they carried with them the truths held dear to the Church of God in all ages, and preserved them for us of today.

 

The Seventh-day Adventists

While certain churches were growing cold and indifferent toward the truth, drifting toward the world, and becoming like the Gentiles around them, the Lord was raising up humble servants as they walked about and taught by the power of the Holy Spirit. New churches with new blood and new life were brought into existence, by the grace of God, and a real spiritual revival swept the country. The truth of the Bible Sabbath, with the fulfilling of prophecy, was stirring men and women everywhere into action for God.

William Miller, an earnest prophetical student and minister, was the main leader in the movement of 1835, in which the time of the second coming of the Lord was set. His great enthusiasm for Christ's return, and a partial knowledge of the prophecies, led him to believe the Lord would come in 1844. From the year 1835 onward, this belief gripped the minds of young and old alike. Thousands in every walk of life were anxious to leave the world affairs behind and prepare to meet Jesus. Commandment observers sprang up in every quarter, and men and women, fired with zeal, went forth with the message depriving themselves of the necessities of life, that precious souls should be won to Christ and prepared to meet him at his coming. When the expected year arrived. the disappointment was bitter. Jesus did not come, but this did not dampen their zeal or slacken their work. Discovering their error in prophetic calculation and knowing that other conditions must first shape themselves for the Lord's return, they went on with the truth.

The year of the disappointment, 1844, James White began publishing The Messenger at Rochester, New York. The name of the paper was later changed to The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald. It was launched by devoted Church of God brethren who were led by the Spirit of God upholding the precious truth, which God had called them to proclaim.

 

Names of Ministers from 1844 to 1860

It will be of interest to know who were leaders in the Church of God in America as the truth spread from state to state toward the west, and to the north and the south. Some of the leaders were as follows, J. N. Loughborough, M. E. Cornell, James White, Isaac Sanborn, Wm. S. Ingrahm, W. M. Allen, Joseph Bates, John Bostwick, J. N. Andrews, B. F. Snook, E. W. Shortridge, D. Richmond, C. Stanley, J. Sisley, J. Byington, H. Keeney, R. F. Cornwell, James Sawyer, B. F Robbins, E. J. Wagoner, B. McCormick, E. E. Taylor, G. W. Holt, J. Dudley, L. E. Jones, J. P. Fleming, J. Clark, Brother Butler, S. W. Rhodes, Luther Kerr, Brother Cramner, R. V. Lyons, R. E. Cotterell, A. C. and D.C. Bordau, A. S. Hutchinson, Brother Spery, H. S. Garney, M. S. Kellogg, Washington Morse, H. R. Lasher, and others.

State associations were formed and functioning in Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and in several of the southern states. Two gospel tents were paid for and in operation in the state of Iowa, and the other state associations had purchased tents, which were in use, and churches and isolated brethren were scattered from one end of the country to the other.

The Name of The Church

That the church name at this time was "The Church of God" is evident from the early writings and experiences and views by Mrs. Ellen G. White, the wife of James White, editor of the church paper mentioned above. She wrote numerous volumes called Spiritual Gifts, and experiences and views, in which she frequently mentioned the name "Church of God." Also the first songbook published by these people is dedicated to "The Church of God scattered abroad." This statement is made in the preface of the book.

Again on page 40 of the church paper of December 18, 1860, we find the following, under caption of "Resignation":

"Brother Smith, I will be thankful for the privilege of saying through the Review to my Sabbath-keeping brethren and sisters that I have so poorly filled the office of a good minister of Jesus Christ, in my ministration of the Third Angel's Message, in The Church of God during ELEVEN years past, I do this day resign this holy office, and retire from my public labors, to a more humble relation to the church with which I have been associated and which I still love devotedly." -- Signed, S. W. Rhodes, Habbardsville, N.Y., Dec. 8, 1860.

This good brother because of declining years, resigns from his active work as a minister of the "Church of God," which he says he has been filling for eleven years. This would take the name back to the year 1849.

The following testimony is borne to the truth of the Seventh-day Adventists originally retaining the Scriptural name, "The Church of God." Elder J. M. Orn-Naerem, of Norway, a former Adventist minister, writes as follows of the records of the old church, and the changed name:

"I have before me a copy of the work, Advent Review, issue of 1850, which was sent to me by E. S. Ballenger. I cling to this work as proof that the Adventists had the right church name before 1844, and onward to 1860, the 3rd of October, at which time the name, Seventh-day Adventists' was adopted. I conclude in view of this proof, that Hiram Edson, David Arnold, George W. Holt, Samuel W. Rhodes, and James White, of whom this first publishing committee consisted, all belonged to the Church of God, and acknowledged no other church name as late as 1850. It says that this book was written in the Holy Spirit by many leaders of the advent movement; consequently, all those leaders were members of the Church of God, for this book is published by the Church of God, and not by the Seventh-day Adventist Church . . . .

"On page 18 of this work is reprinted an article of Elder Marsh, from the Voice of Truth of May 21, 1845, in which Elder Marsh is quoted as saying, `Finally we object to the doings of the Albany conference, because the proceedings as a whole looked like forming a new sect under a sectarian name, instead of coming to the order of the New Testament under the name there given to the true church. It looks like laying plans of our own devising to be acted upon in the future, when we have in our possession the perfect economy of the Lord, by which we should be guided, and when we profess to be looking for his coming every hour.'

"It seems that James White is the editor in charge of reprinting this extract from Elder Marsh's article, as he finished with the following remarks:

"We hope and pray that these testimonies may inspire the hearts of God's children with stronger faith and brighter hope while they obey the divine injunction -- "Call to remembrance the former things. " -- J.W.'

"Mrs. Ellen White said, `Before 1844 we were all united in the truth, but since 1844, in the time of perplexion, many new views have sprung up, and darkness and confusion have been the result.' -- This is a citation from a tract, The Daily, by O. A. Johnson, professor in theology at Walla Walla College, in the State of Washington."

 

Changing the Church Name

We find on the fourth page of the church paper, Review and Herald of March 19, 1861, an article entitled "Organization," in which the necessity for a general organization is set forth. The reasons given are that property holdings including the printing press and buildings should not be held by private individuals, to perpetuate confidence in the work and assure unity of effort.

It was further stated, as follows: "Late information from Lansing, Michigan, gives us to understand that a bill has passed into law under which we can organize. We shall soon be made acquainted with the provision, and friends of the cause, who are waiting to aid by becoming members of this association, will be given an opportunity of joining us in the work." In subsequent issues of the paper we find reports given and later a general organization formed, which we deeply regret was not according to the Scriptural organization for the Church of God, neither was the name adopted a Scriptural one.

Again we find God's true people, like Israel of old, desiring to be like the nations about them (I Samuel, fourth chapter), forming an organization with a president, vice president and the general organization patterned after the civil courts of worldly nations. In the absence of Moses, when he went upon Mount Sinai to receive the tables of stone, Israel worshiped the calf, and so it has ever been among God's children. Their history has been one of repeated backslidings, and the Lord raising up others to carry on his work in the earth.

As further proof that the church carrying the message of truth, teaching the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, at this time was called "The Church of God," we submit the following, from the Review and Herald of April 9, 1861, under title of "Secession." It reads as follows:-- "Brother Smith: We conclude from present aspects that the name, Seventh Day Adventist,' is being made obligatory upon our brethren. Without further light Ohio cannot submit to the name, 'Seventh Day Adventist,' as either a test, or an appropriate name for God's people.-- "Being appointed a finance committee at the last conference, and having now on hand means for carrying on the cause in Ohio, we could not conscientiously expend those means in any other than the advancement and extension of the truth and the `Church of God.'-- "If such means are expended otherwise it will be necessary for the churches in Ohio to assemble in conference, and to give instruction to that effect, and to choose some other committee to make the disbursements. "Signed J. Dudley, L. E. Jones, J. P. Flemming, Finance committee of Ohio."

James White, editor of the Review and Herald, answered as follows:

"The Battle Creek conference October 1, 1860, voted that we call ourselves `Seventh Day Adventists.' . . . The brethren as far as we can learn are adopting the name, and we never heard of, or thought of, its being made a test until we read the above from Ohio . . . .

"We will here add that as a friend from Gilboa complains of the non-publication of an article from Gilboa setting forth the evidence in favor of the name Church of God, we wish to say that AT THAT TIME NO ONE connected with the REVIEW office OBJECTED to the NAME. " -- Signed J. W.

The foregoing is ample proof of the origin of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, that they are a branch from the original church, "The Church of God" and came into existence as a separate body October 1, 1860. The Church of God, however, continued on, holding forth the banner of truth, as she had done since the days of Jesus. While this was a great blow to the work, yet there were many strong spirit-filled men left, who soon launched another paper, and went about strengthening the work that remained and gathering together other companies of believers, as it pleased God to add to His church.

Following this conference several other unscriptural doctrines began to creep into the Seventh-day Adventist churches, including the observance of the Lord's Supper quarterly instead of yearly. This came about through the influence of Mrs. E. G. White, the wife of the editor, who when a girl, was associated with a church which still observes the sacred ordinance every three months. The Church of God has from the days of our Savior practiced the yearly observance of the Lord's Supper, and some of the churches continued this practice, not heeding the teachings set forth in the "Early Writings" of Mrs. E. G. White, who was thought by many to possess the gift of prophecy, and was considered as a prophetess for the remnant church, by those who departed from the faith.

 

The Reconstruction

Many ministers throughout America and in foreign fields endorsed the action of the Battle Creek conference, and followed the advice of their supposed prophetess, not only in the change of the church name, but in other erroneous teachings which were creeping in among God's people. Although this falling away, prophesied by Paul in I Tim. 4:1 to 3, which was to take place in the "latter times," did much damage to the cause of truth, yet the work of the Lord continued to go forward. Strong men filled with the blessed Holy Spirit were not deceived. They went steadily on undaunted, carrying the true name and the true faith. The following ministers prominent among the remnant are worthy of mention in this work: R. V. Lyons of Niagara Falls, New York, Philip Howe and Luther Kerr of Canada, and Elders Cramner and Thomas Howe of Michigan.

The following year these brethren and others from surrounding states met at Battle Creek, Mich., and began the publication of a monthly paper which they called The Remnant of Israel [sic., the author means The Hope of Israel]. They decided on this name, feeling that it was to serve the few left out of this apostasy, who were truly "The Remnant of Israel." This publication continued, but the name was changed later to the Sabbath Advocate, and still later to the Bible Advocate, the name of the present paper.

The next step was the obtaining of a charter in Michigan for the Church of God there, and the following names were placed on this document: L. A. Munger, A. E. Case, Seth Munger, Will Slater, and John Campbell. This charter is still held by the Michigan brethren, and is in the hands of Elder James Merriam, district-overseer of that territory.

During the reconstruction period of the church, following this apostasy, a number of valiant soldiers of the cross contributed their lives in the gospel ministry and are worthy of mention in these pages. Some of the most prominent were: S.E. Brinkerhoff, Jacob Brinkerhoff, A.C. Long, W.C. Long, E.S. Sheffield, David Leard, N.A. Wells, A.F. Dugger, Jasper Moore, J.C. Branch, Lemiel Branch, J. R. Goodenough, E. G. Blackmon, Adelbert Branch, J.W. Niles, S.S. Davison, I.N. Kramer, S.V. Grimm, J.T. Johnson, J. A Nugent, M. B. Ellis, J.C. Bartlett, J.H. Nicholas, B.F. Snook, R.E. Caviness, M.C. Cornell, C.E. Carver, L.L. Presler, J.H. Hinds, John Wilbur, Samuel Davison, and others.

The church paper launched at Battle Creek, Michigan, in 1861, The Remnant of Israel, was later moved to Marion, Iowa, and still later to Stanberry, Mo. A general Conference was organized in Missouri, and state conferences were also organized in various states with presidents and vice presidents, with a similar organization as that formed in October, 1860, at Battle Creek, Michigan, when the name was changed to Seventh Day Adventist. For some reason, God did not put it upon the hearts of His people at that day to restore the New Testament organization as set forth by Jesus and the holy Apostles. As time went on, work was opened up in foreign fields, and the precious truth found its way into many countries, and islands of the sea. Hundreds of thousands of tracts were printed and distributed, together with many books, and for a period of 72 years from 1861 to 1933 the church continued to send forth the true doctrine.

In the fall of 1931, it was voted at the General Conference that the church should send someone to Jerusalem to look after the work, in view of moving the world headquarters there when conditions would permit. Arrangements were consequently made for Elder A.N. Dugger to go and look after this work. A printing press was given him, while holding meetings in London, by Brother Samuel Brown, of that city, which was shipped to Jerusalem. During the summer of 1932, with the assistance of Elder Henry Cohen, a Hebrew Christian, they published a hundred and fifty thousand gospel tracts in the Hebrew language, and in August of that year, in company with Jacob Futerman, David Golden, Jacob Kort, and Henry Cohen, Elder Dugger went all over Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, systematically distributing these gospel messengers among all the Jewish cities and towns.

A good number of Jewish converts were baptized during 1932 in Palestine, and a number of Hebrew workers started into the gospel work there. Sister Rose Miller helped much in the good work which the Lord had laid upon His church to do in the Holy Land.

 

The Reorganization

At this time it seemed that the Spirit of God was moving again in the camps of Israel, and men filled with the Holy Spirit from California to the New England states, and from north to south were impressed with the improper and unscriptural organization of the church. They were writing to one another in different places of the evils manifest in state and general elections of presidents, vice presidents, and suggesting the need of the restoration of the Scriptural organization of the twelve to look after the spiritual affairs of the church, and seven to take charge of the financial business, and also the seventy to go forth two by two in giving the warning message for the hour.

Two letters, now on file, were written so near the same date that they passed each other enroute from Battle Creek, Michigan, to Los Angeles, California. Elder Haeber, in California, wrote the brother who was at that time in Battle Creek, laying out before him the need of the Bible organization, as stated above, which he said had not been suggested by others living in California, as no correspondence had passed between them or any other minister previously on the question. Before this letter reached its destination the brother to whom it was written had also written a letter to Elder

Haeber telling him of the movement that seemed to be sweeping into the minds of many on the question, and also that the matter could be brought up the following fall at the General Conference convening at Stanberry, Mo. Time forbids further details in the matter, but Elder R. A. Barnes, of Arkansas, and Elder Ed. Severson, of Oklahoma, had for some time been talking over the matter between themselves, but unknown to the church in general. Brother Theodore Gillespie, an old time member of the Church of God in St. Joseph, Missouri, voluntarily suggested the matter to Brother A.N. Dugger a few months after his return from the Holy Land. Neither Brother Dugger, nor anyone else, had introducted the question to him. He was informed of this being the opinion of the church at Jerusalem, and that others were seriously considering the matter.

The Lord Jesus prophesied in Revelation 19:7, 8, concerning his church in the latter times, as follows: "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints."

From this Scripture it was understood by many leading brethren that the church was not ready but she should "Make herself ready," as she said. Hence they had set their hearts to prayer, and were consequently led in one accord to stand for a clean church without worldly spot or wrinkle; also to form the Scriptural organization, so when Jesus came to receive his bride, he would find her prepared and ready, having cast to one side the organization patterned after the civil organizations of this world, and with world headquarters moved to the place he himself had chosen. Thus the reorganization became more and more impressed upon the church, and its needs more apparent. A set time and place therefore were chosen to perform this work. It was set for November 4, 1933, and the place chosen was Salem, West Virginia, U.S.A.

The following account of the reorganization meeting is copied from the Bible Advocate published at Salem, Nov. 6, of that year.

 

THE CHOOSING OF THE TWELVE, THE SEVENTY AND THE SEVEN

Several weeks prior to November 4th, a call was sent to many countries for prayer that God would again choose men to lead His church as in the former time. These countries were: Jerusalem, South Africa, Australia, Egypt, England, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, China, India, New Zealand, Panama, Japan, Jamaica, Cuba, Trinidad, Guam, Canada, Nova Scotia, Liberia, Barbados, Venezuela, Syria, Madagascar, Burma, Newfoundland, and Mexico.

The practice of choice by lot is very ancient among the Jews, and was practiced also by the early church, Acts 2:23 to 26. Therefore, after a call to prayer throughout the world was sent forth, besides to about ten thousand people in America, ministers and brothers and sisters in Christ met at Salem, W.Va., according to appointment on Nov. 4th. From one thousand miles westward, to nine hundred miles northeast, and six hundred miles south, they came together, most of them arriving Friday. Although tired from riding great distances, some being up driving for the two previous nights, they all joined together with the Salem church, and spent the entire night in fasting and prayer. A wonderful meeting indeed it was. How good to be there, and how short the passing hours. The time was not simply endured but enjoyed.

In Salem, the city of peace, many hearts rejoiced with love, and the sacred presence of God hallowed the meeting.

The meeting was opened by singing, "Oh, To Be More Like Jesus"; "The Church of God"; and "Humble Thyself to Walk With God." Beginning on Friday afternoon, we began to fast and remained in prayer until the early morning hours of the Holy Sabbath, then letters were gone over from ministers and names gathered, sent in from far and near. One hundred and forty names were presented, and a box was prepared from which to draw the names according to the leadings of God, for these respective offices. As we approached the set time, it seemed we could feel the presence of God. The power of His presence through the world circle of prayer was keenly apparent, and hearts rejoiced in the hope and joy of his salvation.

The congregation then made choice of three men whose names were placed on separate slips of paper, and dropped into the box. A prayer was given that God would make choice of one of these three, whom He could best use and guide in drawing out the ministers names for the twelve and the seventy. Elder Dodd drew out one slip which contained the name of Brother John Adams of Salem.

Ministers' names were then placed into the box, and a brief silent prayer given. It was just a few minutes past eleven A.M., Washington time. The names for the Twelve were drawn out in the following order, by Brother Adams:

No. 1, Elder J. M. Oren-Naerem, of Norway; No. 2, Elder F. C. Robinson, of Missouri; No. 3, Elder R. A. Barnes, of Arkansas; No. 4, Elder R. L. Taylor, of Oregon; No. 5, Elder C. Heywood, of Michigan; No. 6, Elder W. W. McMicken, of West Virginia; No. 7, Elder C. E. Groshans, of Indiana; No. 8, Elder Henry Wood, of Massachusetts; No. 9, Elder Raymond Saenz, of Mexico; No. 10, Elder H. Negby, of Palestine; No. 11, Elder John Kiesz, of Missouri; No. 12, Elder Chas. L. Royer, of Connecticut. A prayer of thanks was now given by Elder Dodd.

These names were written down one by one as chosen, by Elder O. D. Grimm, acting as Secretary pro tem. Another short season of silent prayer was then called, and the names of the Seventy were chosen one by one.

They were as follows in the order of choice:

Elder John Anderson, Mo.; Elder D. Davis, Mich.; Elder H. Tavel, C. A.; Elder Adolph Gusman, Mex.; Elder William Bodine, Ark.; Elder Otto Haeber, Calif.; Elder E. H. Shadel, Ark.; Elder Robert Nance, Ark.; Elder L. M. Jackson, Ala.; Elder William Berry, South America; Elder W. A. Summers, Okla.; Elder John Brenneise, S. Dak.; Elder V. Amos, India; Elder Samuel Brown, London, England; Elder Will Barnes, Ark.; Elder Andrew J. Williams, Texas; Elder J. E. Benson, Pan.; Elder J. D. Bagwell, Ala.; Elder N. P. Daniel, India; Elder E. O. Bradberry, Ark.; Elder G. Flores, Elder L. F. Claspell, Ind.; Elder Kenneth Freeman, W.Va.; Elder V. J. Benjamin, India; Elder B. Israel, South India; Elder Pete Bartschi, Ark.; Elder S. A. Oberg, Ore.; Elder H. Snyder, Wash.; Elder J. A. Ijames, Jr., N.C.; Elder A. H. Stith, Idaho; Elder T. V. Taylor, La.; Elder D. B. Garcia, Mex.; Elder E. Campos, Mex.; Elder E. P. Roche, Mich.; Elder J. E. Codrington, Pa.; Elder Noah Barnabas, Palestine; Elder C. Sobers, New York City; Elder A. C. Turner, Mich.; Elder E. Echiavaria, Tex.; Elder Herbert Armstrong, Ore.; Elder A. Steede, Mich.; Elder J. W. Tarver, La.; Elder J. A. Ijames, N.C.; Elder J. E. Hamilton, C. A.; Elder Allen Castor, B.W.I.; Elder J. G. Smith, Cal.; Elder L. W. Runyon, Okla.; Elder C. O. Vallery, La.; Elder J. M. Rodriguez, Tex.; Elder J. Servantes, Mex.; Elder W. W. West, Calif.; Elder E. J. Younce, Ill.; Elder V. J. Joseph, India; Elder C. O. Dodd, W. Va.; Elder J. Siler, Mich.; Elder Archie Craig, Okla.; Elder Roy Kanady, Ark.; Elder B. Bernsten, China; Elder G. Thompson, Panama Canal; Elder James Relford, Kan.; Elder Chas. J. Ellis, British West Indies; Elder Charles Welch, Okla.; Elder E. H. Jenkins, Ark.; Elder Ed. Severson, Okla.; Elder W. C. Bryce, Tex.; Elder Albert Bodine, Ark.; Elder Arthur Barnes, Ark.; Elder Hugh Brown, London, England; Elder Will Briley, Ark.; Elder F. G. Zoller, Neb.

Following a prayer of grateful thanks to our dear heavenly Father for leading in this work, the assembly proceeded as in Acts 6:1 to 6 in choosing the seven men to place over the business affairs of the church. The choice resulted as follows:

A. N. Dugger of Missouri, C. O. Dodd of West Virginia, John Brenneise, of South Dakota, Hugh Miller of Nebraska, F. L. Summers, of West Virginia, John Adams of West Virginia, R. E. Winsett of Tennessee.

A prayer service followed in which the hands of those of the Twelve present were laid upon the Seven who were at this meeting and they were thus set apart for the work assigned, as in Acts 6:6. A prayer then followed for the officers chosen who were not present, that God would lead them and fully set them apart for the life duties thus involved.

It was late in the afternoon, and although the brethren had been fasting and praying since the beginning of the Sabbath the evening before, they were not hungry. They had been feasting on spiritual food, manna from heaven, and it was indeed refreshing to the soul. All were filled with joy, strengthened by the presence and power of God, and felt that it was good to be there. -- From Bible Advocate, page 5, Nov. 6, 1933.

Following the reorganization new life and new activity sprung forth like the budding trees at springtime. Workers all over the world were inflamed with zeal to push the Third Angel's Message as never before, and the Holy Spirit, operating through men and women to go forth and bear fruit for the Master, was everywhere apparent.

The brethren voted unanimously for the world headquarters to be Jerusalem, Palestine, and money was secured for the purchase of a building there for the headquarters building, and the work there began progressing with a great and wonderful future.

While Jerusalem was chosen for the world headquarters, the United States headquarters was Salem, West Virginia; the Mexican headquarters, Mexico City, Mexico, D. F.; European headquarters, Rosenburg, Egersund, Norway; Indian headquarters, Jonnalapalem, Penumentra, W. Godavaria, South India.

 

Apostolic Succession

"The view that a wise and perfect form of church government and organization was set in order by the New Testament founders of the church, which has right to continue, and that that order has been handed down by the apostolic succession, was maintained by many foreign adherents of the Reformation." "In England this was taught by Richard Cartwright, the Puritan opponent to Hooker, and by an entire school of his day." "They appealed to history, and especially to that of the Alexandrian church, and more especially to St. Jerome." -- Britannica Encyclopaedia, volume 5, page 759, article, "Church."

It is worthy of note here also that adherents of the early Puritan and Pilgrim religion strictly taught the observance of the ten commandments literally, and also the seventh-day Sabbath. The Puritans being citizens of England, were subject to her state religion. They were so named because of their ardent desire and untiring work in attempted church reform, on the Sabbath, Christmas, Easter, and other erroneous teaching.

The Pilgrims were a body of these people who embarked from England about 1619 on the Mayflower, bound for America, where they could worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. Landing at Plymouth Rock, under divine favor and blessings, they zealously taught the true faith in this country, Benjamin Franklin being a follower, and a zealous Sabbath-keeper. Much history is accessible of the doctrine and faith of these early adventurers to this new world, where their influence meant so much in establishing religious freedom and liberty, through which this nation has blessed humanity.

That the succession of apostolic power has come down unbroken to the days of our pilgrim ancestors, as taught by the school in the days of Richard Cartwright, is further proven by Cotterill's Genesis of The Church, where mention is made of the "Seven," who looked after the business of the church, before the divisions of Eastern and Western Rome, 395 A.D. This view of apostolic succession, and heavenly virtue being thus transferred unbroken to the days of the Puritans, is strongly supported by the history of the Eastern churches, as well as by living schools of the Anglican.

Gladstone attacks this in a friendly criticism, by expressing doubt as to why a church would remain silent for some thirteen centuries and then be able to speak. This mystery, however, is made clear with a correct understanding of the prophecy of Revelation, where it was clearly shown beforehand that it would be so. The church was to go into the wilderness and be nourished there for 1260 years, from the face of her persecutor, the beast. Then as the earth helped the woman, she was to come forth again. This actually took place, and while remaining in silence, as far as the world was concerned, yet she is not only able to speak, but divinely empowered with the right to do so.

Britannica Encyclopaedia, volume 2, page 194, says, "Very early, however, the notion that the apostleship is essentially an hierarchical office, found entrance in the church. Irenius and Tertullian regard the continuation of the apostolic function." "This view," it says, "is further developed by Cyprian."

 

Succession in Apostolic Ordination

The Scriptures teach us most emphatically that the apostolic virtue and power was handed down from apostle to apostle by the divine ordinance of laying on of hands and prayer. -- Numbers 8:10, 27:28; Acts 6:6; 13:3; I Timothy 4:14; II Timothy 1:5.

That the Sabbath-keeping "Church of God," has a most definite link of connection back through holy men to the days of the apostles is certain. The very same faith, and practice in divine worship, have been definitely handed down to the present time by strong men of God, filled with His blessed Holy Spirit, zealous for the precious commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus, fervent in zeal, and faithful unto death.

The following extract of history shows how careful the Church of God has been, from time remote, to preserve this sacred link of divine virtue, that the true church with apostolic power and purity might truly be manifest in the world when Jesus returns to make up his jewels.

The historical narrative following occurred about the year 1350 A.D. Commenius, who published a synopsis of the discipline of the churches of Bohemia, dwells particularly upon this article which shows that "a stated ministry was always considered as a matter of great importance among the Waldensian churches." A dreadful persecution broke out against the Bohemian brethren, in the days of Commenius, which produced such havoc among them that he himself was `the only surviving bishop that escaped.' The scattered brethren in process of time (about 1350) elected three persons as qualified for the pastoral office, but `found themselves greatly perplexed about the ordination.' . . . They resolved to send . . . one of their pastors, with two other persons, to find out those Waldenses, and give them an account of what had passed among them, and especially ask their advice upon the matter in hand. They met with one Stephen, a Waldensian bishop, who sent for others also residing in that quarter, with whom they had a conference upon the doctrines of the gospel and the state of their churches, and by them the three pastors were ordained by the imposition of hands. `Hence,' says Dr. Allix `it is abundantly evident, that, as the Waldenses have preserved the faith that was committed to them, so have they been as careful to preserve entire amongst them the ancient discipline of the church; and hence it will follow that nothing can be more false than that which is pretended, viz., that they had no kind of lawful ministry among them, but that laymen took upon themselves the power of preaching, of ordaining ministers, and administering ordinances.'" p. 258, Jones' Church History, quoting Dr. Allix's remarks, page 239.-- Their religious views are further stated by Allix: "They declare themselves to be the apostles' successors, to have apostolical authority, and the keys of binding and loosing. They hold the church of Rome to be the whore of Babylon, and that all that obey her are damned, especially the clergy that are subject to them since the time of Pope Sylvester . . . . They hold that none of the ordinances of the church that have been introduced since Christ's ascension ought to be observed, as being of no worth; the feasts, fasts, orders, blessings, offices of the church, and the like, they utterly reject." -- Allix, Hist. Anc. People of Piedmont, p. 209.

A considerable part of the people called Waldenses bore the significant designation of Sabbati, or Insabbatati. Mr. Jones alludes to this fact in these words:

"Because they should not observe saint's day, they were falsely supposed to neglect the Sabbath also, and called Insabbatati or Insabbathists." -- Hist. Church, chap. 5, sec. 1.

As further evidence in this work clearly shows, the unbroken link in the true church reaches down to the present, and the claim is not an empty one, that we still possess in our ministry the same divine unction and virtue possessed by the ancient people of God. Through the practice of laying on of hands and prayer, the true baptism passed down through the centuries. Ministers thus ordained, in every period, have retained and passed on to others this ordination power, a peculiar treasure.

 

The Wilbur Church

As an example of the persecutions the early ministers had to endure in order to establish congregations in the truth, we shall give the history of the Wilbur Church of God, which is the oldest true Church of God now functioning in the state of West Virginia. It has been faithfully upholding the true gospel since its organization in 1859, and has always carried the true name, though originally it was known by outsiders by the term "Nilesites," from the name of the minister under whom the little company was raised up.

Elder J. W. Niles, the organizer of the Wilbur congregation, came from Erie, Pa. He was an able speaker, and feared not to declare the whole counsel of God, which, of course, brought the wrath of the evil ones against him. Troublesome times were passed through by Elder Niles and the little company who dared to live up to the light of God's word, as revealed in the Bible.

A little congregation of followers of Jesus stepped out from the world, covenanting to keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Of these we recall the following: John Pierson and wife, Stephen Wilcox and wife, Samuel Vandegrift Grimm and wife, Levi Shuman and wife, Ralph Baker and wife, Newton Wilcox and wife, Perry Brown and wife. Later Hon. Wilcox, Drusilia Wilcox, Rachel Ann Wilcox, Paul Kirk Wilcox, Leander Shuman, Jennie Shuman, Asberry Shuman and wife, and Can Vandegrift and wife united with the congregation.

Not having any church house at the time, they met for worship at the different homes. Opposition was unrelenting against them, however. Satan did his best to destroy them, especially the one responsible for the raising up of the church.

At one particular time a meeting was in progress at the home of Cornelius Pierson. While Elder Niles was preaching, a noise was heard without, and upon investigation it was found that Mr. Solomon Stewart was standing on a log, preaching against what he called "the strange doctrine of 1859," the "Nilesites" as they were called.

On another occasion the foot-bridge over the creek was fixed in such a way that it would throw Elder Niles and John Pierson and his wife into the waters of the creek and drown them as they returned home from the meeting. However, as God ever does, His divine intervening hand was placed around them, and they decided to stay with Cornelius Pierson for the night, their lives being thus saved.

Another incident is recalled of the severe antagonism that the church incurred at that time. After the meeting of the evening, and the family had retired for the night, the house was rocked by members of the community who were inflamed over the new doctrine as they called it. The rocks were aimed mostly at Elder Niles; but one of them struck John Pierson on the head, inflicting a severe wound. All the windows of the dwelling were broken; but God delivered His servants.

As a last extreme, lies were circulated against the truth. As no one could withstand the logic of Elder Niles, as he declared the plan of salvation from the Scriptures, it was put forth that the Bible used by him was a different one than those used by other ministers. To prove that it was the same Bible which others believed in, it was taken to Mr. Davis Hickman, at that time Clerk of the Court, and upon investigation he declared it to be the same kind of Bible. However, this assertion is continually met with by the ministers of the Church of God, on account of the fact that they use passages from the Holy Writings that other ministers seldom mention. People being unacquainted with them, believe another Bible is being used. Ministers should declare the whole counsel of God, which would, necessarily, bring in all the Bible, and then the congregations would be acquainted with the entire word, which is able to make us wise unto salvation, through Christ.

Another false report, which is believed in to this day, was that the Church at Wilbur appointed the time of the coming Jesus. It was reported that the day and hour was set for the return of Jesus to this world; and that upon this set night, the church assembled prepared to meet the Lord, robed in white garments made for the occasion. It was also claimed that a hole was cut through the roof in order that the Lord might alight in their midst more easily. The reliable of the community did not believe the false report; yet the more susceptible did, and to this day the irresponsible have been repeating it, when there is not one iota of truth in the fable.

The truth of the matter was that the church had met on the night in question, which was the fourteenth day of the month Nisan, in the spring time, which was the month and day which were kept as a passover by the children of God from the night that God by the hand of Moses led them out of the land of Egypt (Exodus 12:1-17). Jesus, who was the light of the world, met on this day and celebrated the passover with his disciples and then instituted the "Lord's Supper," instructing them that they should eat it "in remembrance" of him. -- Luke 22:7-20.

The early church, as the Apostle Paul said, kept the passover in its season, that is the fourteenth day of Nisan, counting from the new moon nearest the spring equinox. As the beloved Paul said, "I have received of the Lord that which I have delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as oft as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come." -- I Corinthians 11:23-26.

In other words, the Wilbur brethren were celebrating the annual observance of the Lord's Supper. Being on the fourteenth day, it was the same as when Jesus ate it with his disciples. Being at night, it was the same time that he ate it. Being supper it was the right kind of a meal. In all this the Church of God has ever followed the example of her Lord and Master.

The Church of God has never set the time for the coming of the Lord, and yet they are not in darkness of this event, as others who do not take heed to the sure word of prophecy. By the signs that are given in the prophecies of the holy men of God the church ever knows certain things must come to pass before that event comes upon the world. Our ministers preach the coming of the Lord, as all good ministers of Jesus Christ should do. We look forward to its occurrence, trusting that we will be worthy to stand when it arrives. Yet we know by the signs of the times that Jesus is coming, and that soon, too. He is even at the door. -- I Thessalonians 5:1-6; Rev. 22:20.

Church of God ministers at Wilbur have ever had to defend the word of truth, and three debates have been held with those who wish to know the truth of the Scriptures. The most notable of these discussions were that of Dugger and McVey, and Jones and Moore. The truth has ever been verified in these discussions, and the Church of God has continued to stand with it.

Today the Wilbur church does not stand alone, but other companies and scattered members hold aloft the true faith over the state. Not only so, but the headquarters for the work in the United States is located at Salem, West Virginia, and from there the "faith once delivered unto the saints" is going rapidly to those who have not heard.

 

Conclusion

We now bring to a close the history of the true church of the living God. We have endeavored to trace her wanderings before the cruel hand of the oppressor from country to country, from the holy city Jerusalem, through Asia Minor, into the mountains and valleys of Europe, across the Atlantic, into the wilderness of the new world, America. The course these saints have followed has been marked with the life blood of the martyrs, who, rather than deny the true gospel, suffered after the example of Jesus the Author and Finisher of this faith.

The unquestioned integrity of these true followers of the Lamb, the purity of their doctrine, and their lives, the ardent love they manifested for the gospel Jesus preached, the zeal they evidenced in the face of every opposing foe, as they witnessed to the truth which they had inherited, the faithfulness which actuated their lives in the midst of darkness, sin, ignorance and superstition, have thrilled our very being as we have traced their path through the centuries to our day.

The fact that God has not been without witness in every generation of the gospel age, is evidence indeed that there is a supreme Architect over all, fashioning the ages as He will, impelling men by that divine love, which only heaven can give, to stand firm against every device and agent of Satan. As we look back upon the faithfulness and martyrdom of those, who in past ages witnessed for "the faith once delivered unto the saints" of God, how it should inspire us, the remnant of the children of the woman driven into the wilderness, to devoutly adore Him the true God, and uphold the same pristine gospel of Christ for which saints in all generations have willingly died.

The true faith has come down to us through persecution and bloodshed. The fact that we have the scriptures for our learning, and the liberty we now enjoy to worship God according to His Word. is a heritage we owe not only to God, but also to those who have died for the true faith. The history of the true church is not yet completed, and will not be unto the day when the Gospel Age closes with the coming of the Prince of Peace. Until that day may the same God, who actuated the lives of the saints of the past who were faithful unto death, so inspire each reader to hold aloft the true gospel amidst the trials and persecutions which shall come, and be among those faithful ones of past generations who shall have a place among the followers of the Lamb.

 

THE END

 

NOTE: The 1972 edition had the following additional information on the closing pages:

 

The world headquarters has been established at Jerusalem, Israel, according to a resolution passed at the General Conference of the Church of God in August 1931, at Stanberry, Missouri, and one of the same nature passed unanimously at Salem, West Virginia, as mentioned previously.

The church building at Jerusalem will comfortably seat around one hundred people, and the Publishing House is fully equipped with two self feeding large printing presses, one of which is an off-set press which does beautiful color printing. A good Linotype on which is set five different languages. The Publishing House is well equipped with all other necessary machinery.

The Israel Bible Correspondence School, with Elder Harry Schlenker manager, sends out 44 Bible lessons in seven languages, with more languages being added. At this date, June, 1972, around three thousand have ordered the lessons in Hebrew from Israel, and about three hundred in other languages. There are also sixteen hundred readers of the monthly magazine "Mount Zion Reporter" in Israel who have sent in their own orders for the paper.

Over sixty thousand New Testaments in the Hebrew language, and Bibles with both Testaments have been ordered by card and letter from Israel during the past two years, and have been supplied from headquarters by those associated together in the Father's work at Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem World Headquarters has representatives laboring in establishing this true faith in about every country of the world, where many congregations have been raised up, and many evangelists are laboring. Calls come in to Jerusalem World Headquarters for Jewish ministers, and they are being sent to different countries. Two years ago, Elder A.M. Shoemaker was sent in answer to a call from Kenya, Africa. In about two months labor there he baptized 284 converts and ordained sixteen men called to the ministry, and receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The Jerusalem Messenger, published at Jerusalem, gives many reports and photographs of groups and workers over the world who love Jerusalem. Psalm 128:5, 6.

There are a number of other groups of this same faith with some slight non-essential doctrinal differences in various places carrying on a good work, and printing various publications from their national headquarters. We believe they are all gathering fruit for the kingdom, and the foundation creed of all of these groups is the same, viz., Revelation 12:17, "the commandments of Elohim and the testimonies of Yahshua (Christ)."

One of these headquarters is Denver, Colorado; another, Meridian, Idaho, and some that make the sacred Hebrew names of the Father and the Son, a special part of their message (Proverbs 30:4; Psalm 68:4, and 91:14, also 69:35, 36, and Isaiah 52:6) are located at Junction City, Oregon, and Jackson Gap, Alabama, also The Faith of Holt, Michigan.

We believe these will all fall in line with the Holy Scriptures and publicly affirm that Jerusalem was chosen of the Father, and must be recognized as the World Headquarters by all of the remnant people holding to the New Testament name, and the true faith once delivered to the saints, as they are led further by the Holy Spirit.

"Watch ye therefore and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of man." -- Luke 21:24 to 36.
 
 
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