Chapter 19

Evangelism, Local and Global, and Race Relations

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Dynamic Advocate of Public Evangelism
Setting the Tone on Race Relations
Endnotes
Study Questions


“Your conception of the work needs to be greatly enlarged.”1

Sabbatarian Adventists in the 1840s were largely devoted to helping their little band understand better the meaning of the Disappointment of 1844.2 Early leaders encouraged other Millerites not to deny their past Advent experience. They energetically set forth their new understanding regarding Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary and the connection of the seventh-day Sabbath within the larger context of the messages of the three angels in Revelation 14. Understandably, their sense of mission was frustrated by hostile reactions from both the general public after the “embarrassment” of October 22, 1844, and by Sunday-keeping Millerites who bitterly rejected the new Saturday-Sabbath emphasis. It seemed that an ice curtain now isolated early Sabbatarian Adventists, leading to the conviction that, in some way, the door of mercy had been closed to those who had rejected the deeper implications of the Millerite message of 1844.3

But the sense of mission involving Adventist responsibility to share their message with the world soon changed. The force and clarity of young Ellen White was the primary reason for the shift from the “shut door” mentality of early Sabbatarian Adventists to that of responsibility for the completion of the gospel commission. In fact, “the views of E. G. White had a profound influence on the new theological interpretations as well as the emerging missionary consciousness, making doubtful that without her influence the early Sabbatarian Adventists would have survived this period of turmoil.”4

The developing Adventist sense (theology) of mission moved on from (but not forsaking) (1) reaffirming the Advent experience of 1844, to (2) restoring certain neglected Bible doctrines that needed to be reset in “the everlasting gospel,” to (3) recognizing that this restored gospel was to be preached to all the world before Jesus returned.5

Coupled with Adventism’s consistent proclamation of the nearness of the Advent was its motivating and driving principle of restoration.6 This principle involved more than a theological integration of restored Biblical teachings; it included “the context of man’s spiritual and physical restoration as necessary preparation for Christ’s return.”7 Ellen White was the foremost spokesperson for the restoration principle shaping Adventist eschatology.8

This theological emphasis on restoration differentiates Seventh-day Adventists from other religious groups that emphasize the nearness, or even imminence, of the Second Coming. Adventist theology of the Advent continues to attract those who want “to make sense of their own lives.” In an Institute of Church Ministry (Andrews University) research study, “seventy percent of new believers in the Georgia-Cumberland Conference survey said that they were most attracted to the church by ‘the truth and beauty of its teachings.’ . . . Few people are attracted to churches in which theology is hedged around by qualifications. Adventism’s evident ideological appeal may also be a function of the church’s apparent theological certainty.”9

In the early years, Adventists took their “world” assignment seriously but interpreted it less than globally. At first they believed that “if the third angel’s message were preached throughout the United States, it would thus have been preached to all the world.”10

How could this be? Uriah Smith, struggling with the concept, concluded that, though “we have no information that the Third Message is at present being proclaimed in any country besides our own . . . our own land is composed of people from almost every nation.”11 Even until 1872 Adventists generally believed that Matthew 24:14 was being fulfilled in the rapid expansion of Protestant missions generally.12

But Ellen White was being used by God to lift the vision of the emerging Adventist denomination. In her 1848 Dorchester, Massachusetts, vision she told her husband James that he should start a paper and “from this small beginning it was shown to me to be like streams of light that went clear round the world.”13 Such a concept seemed preposterous to contemporaries.14

During the 1850s Adventists with European family or friends were sending literature to them, and soon pockets of Sabbath keepers could be found in the “old” world. In 1864 M. B. Czechowski, an Adventist since 1858, left for Europe with his new-found convictions. This eventually led to a company of Sabbath keeping believers in Tramelan, Switzerland.15

Prompted by this European interest, the 1874 General Conference sent the J. N. Andrews family, the denomination’s first official foreign missionaries, to Switzerland. Ellen White later commented that Andrews was “the ablest man in our ranks.”16 Three years later the John G. Matteson family was sent to Scandinavia to follow the literature that had been developing interest in the messages of the three angels.17 By 1890 Adventist missionaries were in about 18 countries, including various European nations, Africa, Russia, Australia, India, and South Africa.

During this time Ellen White had been educating the church. In 1871, in a message based on a December 10 vision, she appealed: “Young men should be qualifying themselves by becoming familiar with other languages, that God may use them as mediums to communicate His saving truth to those of other nations. . . . Missionaries are needed to go to other nations to preach the truth in a guarded, careful manner.”18

In 1874 she had “an impressive dream” of “giving the third angel’s message to the world.” In the dream she was told that Adventists were “entertaining too limited ideas of the work for this time. You are trying to plan the work so that you can embrace it in your arms. . . . Many countries are waiting for the advanced light the Lord has for them. . . . Your conception of the work needs to be greatly enlarged.”19

Driven by her own sense of mission, Ellen White spent two years in Europe, 1885-1887. These years are well chronicled in Ellen G. White in Europe, 1885-1887.20 Just as she was closely involved in the development of the Advent movement in North America, she now had much to do with establishing the work in Europe on firm principles. Not easy, working with many nationalities and languages, but her instruction at that time in bringing unity and good will has been most salutary for international and intercultural relationships since that time.21

L. H. Christian, an administrator in Europe, 1922-1936, wrote: “The advent movement in Europe would never have been the same if it had not been for her visit.”22

Ellen White was a globalist. The “how” of fulfilling Matthew 24:14 she left up to God: “God will do the work if we will furnish Him the instruments.”23 She who saw the “streams of light” going “clear round the world” in 1848 when there were fewer than one hundred Sabbatarian Adventists, never gave up that vision of a world enlightened with the messages of the three angels. She prompted the church to develop its message, and prodded it to reach out to fulfill its staggering mission.24


Dynamic Advocate of Public Evangelism

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Training must precede practice. In the two years that Mrs. White was in Europe (1885-1887) she gave those who were breaking new ground in evangelism clear and proven suggestions as to how to be most effective. One of the first lessons learned in the United States was that unprepared, untrained workers, no matter how earnest, did not honor God with ineffective methods. At the fifth session of the European Council (1887), in Moss, Norway, she counseled: “Much greater work could have been done if our brethren had taken greater pains, even at large expense, to educate the licentiates before they were sent into the field for labor. They were allowed to go and try their gift. They did not go with experienced workmen who could help them and educate them, but went out alone. . . . They did not grow, and were not taxing their powers to become able men in the Scriptures.”25

Mrs. White would not substitute enthusiasm for proper ministerial preparation: “If young men would enter the field [public ministry], in nowise discourage them; but first let them learn the trade.”26 As James White stated, it was always “a disgrace to Seventh-day Adventists to do a second-class job in anything.”27

Importance of starting right. First impressions were important to Ellen White. Those representing the Adventist Church in public must be prepared spiritually as well as professionally—or else their work would not be permanent: “There is the greatest need of the work in new fields starting right, bearing the impress of the divine. Many in these new fields will be in danger of accepting the truth or assenting to it, who have not a genuine conversion of heart. When tested by storm and tempest, it will be found that their house is not built upon a rock but upon sliding sand. Practical godliness must be possessed by the minister and developed in his daily life and character. His discourses should not be exclusively theoretical.”28

“Starting right” also meant the impressions made by the choice of meeting places,29 by avoiding “theatrical performances” and “startling notices . . . [that] create an alarm,”30 by appropriate articles in “the secular papers,”31 by becoming “acquainted with the pastors of the several churches,”32 by being “abreast of the times” in messages,33 by the ministers’ dressing “in a manner befitting the dignity of their position,”34 and by ministers avoiding anything that might be considered “uncouth” in any attitude or deportment that would “strike the beholder with disgust.”35

Public presentations should reflect the spirit and manner of Jesus. One of the marks of the Spirit of prophecy is that Jesus is exalted and reflected in all soul-winning ventures. Whatever the subject Ellen White discusses, the reader is impressed with the prevailing sentiment that Christ is not only our Saviour but also our Example—in all things. His soul winning, whether in leading individuals to salvation or in directing multitudes heavenward, provide clear, proven methods of evangelistic effectiveness.

In the chapter “Our Example,” in The Ministry of Healing, Ellen White depicted how Jesus would “meet men where they were.” She wrote: “He sought access to the people by the pathway of their most familiar associations.”36 Often she emphasized that it is “essential that we understand and follow right methods of teaching and follow the example of Christ.”37

Christ’s example included avoiding “controversies,”38 identifying with each person’s “interest and happiness,”39 watching “the faces of His hearers . . . which told that truth had reached the soul,”40 speaking with “simplicity” by not bringing “many things before them at once, lest He might confuse their minds [making] every point clear and distinct,” appealing to all intellectual and social levels by clothing His messages “with such beauty that they interested and charmed the greatest intellects,”41 by measuring His instruction as His audience was ready to receive it, keeping back “many things in regard to which His wisdom kept Him silent.”42

Bringing the gospel to the general public, including many who have been burned over with previous religious experiences, requires tact in selecting the sequence of subjects. Ellen White led the way by example and by persistent instruction. In emphasizing tact, she wrote: “When you meet those, who, like Nathaniel, are prejudiced against the truth, do not urge your peculiar views too strongly. Talk with them at first of subjects upon which you can agree. . . . Both you and they will be brought into a closer connection with heaven, prejudice will be weakened, and it will be easier to reach the heart.”43

She commended church members who mingled with the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, urging them to be noted for the “light of life” on “subjects where you can all agree.”44

Ellen White was invited to speak to the general public on scores of occasions throughout North America. Generally she chose the subjects of Christian temperance and practical godliness, developing the subjects in a way that deeply stirred her audiences. She knew that by starting with a neutral, contemporary subject she would gain a favorable hearing, thus setting the stage for more distinctive messages. She knew the principles of good public relations.45

Leading advocate of city evangelism. Some may wonder how and why a woman as busy as Ellen White would get involved in evangelistic techniques. Yet, many are the messages written to denominational leaders and leading evangelists, focusing on soul-winning methods for urban areas.46 Her counsel on public evangelism, for example, especially in the world’s large cities, prompted new moves toward city evangelism: “We stand rebuked by God because the large cities right within our sight are unworked and unwarned. . . . We have done none too much for foreign fields, but we have done comparatively nothing for the great cities right beside our own doors.”47

Stephen and Hetty Haskell were perhaps the leading proponents of Ellen White’s program for reaching the masses. Door-to-door selling of books, personal Bible studies, workers’ meetings to teach personal evangelism, utilization of health education to arouse public interest, printed Bible studies, evangelistic journals, contacting business and professional leaders, finding suitable sites for public meetings—all came together in the Haskells’ program for New York in the early 1900s.48

Denominational leadership, preoccupied with various crises at that time, neglected Ellen White’s repeated emphasis on city evangelism. But she would not be deterred. For her, not only were many millions going to their graves unwarned, the preaching of the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 was seriously frustrated.49

In 1909 she met the issue head-on: the church’s top leaders, including A. G. Daniells, General Conference president, and W. W. Prescott, editor of the Review, should lead the way in public evangelism! She wrote sharply to both men in 1910 after she believed that her counsel in 1909 had produced only a token response: “I am charged with a message to you both that you need to humble your hearts before God. Neither Elder Prescott nor Elder Daniells is prepared to direct the work of the General Conference, for in some things they have dishonored the Lord God of Israel. . . . Some things were clearly opened before me during the last meeting I attended in Washington, D. C. . . . The work in the cities has not yet been carried forward as it should be. . . . Had the president of the General Conference been thoroughly aroused, he might have seen the situation. But he has not understood the message that God has given. . . . I can no longer hold my peace.”50

Prescott made plans for evangelistic work but a combination of family tragedies overwhelmed him. His health suffered seriously. As time went on, new responsibilities in editorial work eventually occupied his time.51

Daniells had some difficulty in arranging his leadership responsibilities. During these months, Ellen White wrote him: “Redeem the lost time of the past nine years by going ahead now with the work in our cities, and the Lord will bless and sustain you.”52

This constant urging on the president of the General Conference and others resulted in an explosion of Adventist city evangelism in the years that followed.53


Setting the Tone on Race Relations

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As with many other major denominational issues, Ellen White was foremost in charting the moral dimensions involved in race relations as well as in suggesting pragmatic approaches to resolving problems during difficult times. Richard Schwarz wrote that it “took an earnest admonition from Ellen White to jolt Adventists into realizing their duty to share their faith with Afro-Americans.”54

Prior to leaving for Australia, at the 1891 General Conference session in Battle Creek, Mrs. White made her first major public appeal for evangelistic work among American Blacks.55 Understanding the growing restrictions being applied to Blacks throughout the southern states, she recognized that she was plunging into an explosive topic, “but I do not mean to live a coward or die a coward.”56

She pointed out that “the black man’s name is written in the book of life beside the white man’s. . . . Birth, station, nationality, or color cannot elevate or degrade men.” Further, those who “slight a brother because of his color are slighting Christ.”

Then she turned to the church’s neglect, acknowledging with regret that “we have not made a greater effort for the salvation of souls among the colored people.” She recognized that she was referring to “perplexing questions,” that both White and Black Adventists were needed to educate millions who had been “downtrodden” for so long, and that church workers in the South “must not carry things to extremes and run into fanaticism on this question.”57

One of the first to sense the challenge was James Edson White, Ellen White’s son.58 Creative, energetic, a trained printer and songwriter, Edson joined with Will Palmer in producing The Gospel Primer, which they used (1) to raise funds, (2) to teach illiterates how to read, and (3) to teach Bible truths in simple language.

Knowing that they would not be welcome among Southern Whites, especially if they lived with Blacks, they had a river steamboat built (named the Morning Star), which for several years became their housing, printing plant, and chapel. This concerted effort to help fulfill the goals of Ellen White’s 1891 appeal moved forward with little support from denominational sources. But Edson’s tenacity, coupled with his mother’s encouragement, paid off with the establishment of a Seventh-day Adventist presence along the Yazoo River, at Nashville, Tennessee, and Vicksburg, Mississippi.59

Mrs. White saw the color-line issue in broader dimensions than most of her contemporaries. In a series of ten articles in the Review and Herald,60 after Edson had begun his work, she appealed to church members: “No human mind should seek to draw the line between the colored and the white people. Let circumstances indicate what shall be done, for the Lord has His hand on the lever of circumstances. As the truth is brought to bear upon the minds of both colored and white people, as souls are thoroughly converted, they will become new men and women. . . . Those who are converted among the white people will experience a change in their sentiments. The prejudice which they have inherited and cultivated toward the colored race will die away.”61

Ellen White closed the first of the ten-article series with an appeal and caution: “As a people we should do more for the colored race in America than we have yet done. In the work we shall need to move with carefulness, being endowed with wisdom from above.”62 The remaining nine articles reemphasized the general concepts of the first article with several suggestions as to how White families should move to the southern states to share with the Blacks their knowledge of agriculture and other trades. The goal was to lead Blacks into their own self-help programs.

But time and circumstances soon changed. The closing years of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth saw whatever gains the Blacks enjoyed since emancipation reversed with a vengeance. The shameful, rigid, system of segregation emerged during this period, beginning what has been called the “betrayal of the Negro.” Some refer to this period as “the long dark night,” lasting to 1923.63 In 1913, the President of the United States was still segregating federal office buildings in the nation’s capital. In 1890 Mississippi led the way in eliminating the Blacks’ right to vote; seven states soon followed. Lynching became a Southern racial phenomenon; some Blacks were burned at the stake. Major race riots occurred in both North and South.

Did Ellen White contradict herself? Did she set her sails depending on how the wind was blowing when she told church members, White and Black, in 1908 that Blacks should not expect or demand social equality and that Blacks and Whites should worship in segregated buildings? That surely sounds like a different Ellen White from the bold, clear-eyed leader in the first-half of the 1890s!

The answer to such criticism of Ellen White lies in observing several facts: (1) Her son, Edson, during this period, was demonstrating the principles that his mother had encouraged. He and his associates were working during the darkening shadows when “Jim Crow” racial segregation was sweeping the South. Edson’s mother kept close contact with him and from this correspondence we can understand where her heart was. Almost singlehandedly, mother and son, during the most difficult times showed the Adventist Church how to begin work in the southern states.

(2) The rapidly changing circumstances in the southern states required timely, unambiguous counsel from the messenger of God who was able to see the big picture developing. Ellen White never advocated inviting the time of trouble before its time.64 She recognized that the dawn of a better day would eventually brighten that dark night of shameful Black oppression but that “for this time” they must be “‘wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.’” The cautionary measures Ellen White advocated were “to be followed until the Lord shows us a better way.”65 She proclaimed courage because “God is laying bare His arm to do a mighty work in this mission field within the borders of our own land.”66

(3) Ellen White’s counsel during this appalling period in the history of the United States reflects more than human wisdom. Flexibility is a mark of wisdom when time and circumstances change. Living in Australia prevented her from reading the daily newspapers of that period. Yet, she saw clearly the implications of the new oppression of Blacks. Evangelistic work for Whites was in jeopardy if “wrong” moves in working for the Blacks were adversely interpreted by the Whites. And Blacks would be in greater jeopardy if unsympathetic Whites thought Blacks were stepping “outside” of their social sphere in responding to White evangelists.67 The larger picture that Ellen White always kept before the church was to honor God by steady progress in reaching honest seekers, White or Black, even though the pace, at times, slowed to allow for immediate circumstances. Her prediction that times would change certainly gave hope to those struggling during the dark night.

(4) Ellen White’s instruction to the church, by counsel and example, paved the way for Adventists to work in the southern states when circumstances would change: (a) She believed in the equality of all races; (b) She clearly did not foster the prevailing belief on the part of many in her day that the Black race was genetically inferior. Often she would point out: “You will meet with deplorable ignorance. Why? Because the souls that were kept in bondage were taught to do exactly the will of those who call them their property, and held them as slaves. . . . Now, there are those who are intelligent. Many have had no chance who might have manifested decided ability if they had been blessed with opportunities such as their more favored brethren, the White people, have had.”68 In other words, remove the bondage and inevitable results of slavery, give Blacks the same opportunities as Whites, and so-called ignorance would vanish as a consequence.

Ellen White would have been better understood on race relations through the years if the totality of her statements had been studied in the context of their time. Adventist racial tensions would have been greatly reduced if her lucid principles had molded personal and organizational decisions. Otis B. Edwards, a long-time Black educator, may have said it best: “Perhaps the greatest stimulus to missionary efforts for the Negro came . . . from Mrs. Ellen G. White.”69


Endnotes

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1. Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, p. 289.

2. Probably the Sabbatarian Adventists numbered no more than 100 in 1849. By 1852, numbers increased to 250; by 1863, when the Seventh- day Adventist Church was organized, members numbered 3,500.—Bull and Lockhart, Seeking a Sanctuary, pp. 111, 112.

3. Damsteegt, Foundations, pp. 163, 164.

4. See Chapter 44, “The Shut Door—a Case Study.”

5. Damsteegt, Foundations, p. 295.

6. Ibid., p. 295.

7. Ibid., p. 296. “In this mission of restoration the concept of God’s mission was recognized while man’s function was placed in the context of a divine-human cooperation.”—Ibid.

8. Ibid., p. 270.

9. Bull and Lockhart, Seeking a Sanctuary, p. 117.

10. Spalding, Origin and History, vol. 2, p. 194; Gottfried Oosterwal, “Continuity and Change in Adventist Mission,” in Vern Carner and Gary Stanhiser, The Stature of Christ (Privately published, Loma Linda, CA, 1970), pp. 45-57.

11. Review and Herald, Feb. 3, 1859, p. 87.

12. Review and Herald, April 16, 1872, p. 138; July 16, 1872, p. 36.

13. Life Sketches, p. 125.

14. Spalding, Origin and History, vol. 2, p. 195; Loughborough, GSAM, p. 275.

15. Maxwell, Tell It to the World, pp. 158-164; Schwarz, Light Bearers, pp. 142-144; SDAE, vol. 10, p. 428.

16. Maxwell, Tell It to the World, pp. 165-173; Schwarz, Light Bearers, pp. 144-147.

17. Schwarz, Light Bearers, pp. 147-148.

18. Life Sketches, p. 204.

19. Ibid., pp. 208-209.

20. D. A. Delafield, Ellen G. White in Europe, 1885-1887 (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1975).

21. “Some who have entered these missionary fields have said: ‘You do not understand the French people; you do not understand the Germans. They have to be met in just such a way. But I inquire, Does not God understand them? Is it not He who gives His servants a message for the people? . . . Though some are decidedly French, others decidedly German, and others decidedly American, they will be just as decidedly Christlike. . . . Let no one think that there need not be a stroke placed upon him. There is no person, no nation, that is perfect in every habit and thought. One must learn of another. Therefore God wants the different nationalities to mingle together, to be one in judgment, one in purpose. Then the union that there is in Christ will be exemplified. . . . Look to Jesus, brethren; copy His manners and spirit, and you will have no trouble in reaching these different classes. We have not six patterns to follow, nor five; we have only one, and that is Christ Jesus. . . . I warn you, brethren and sisters, not to build up a wall of partition between different nationalities. On the contrary, seek to break it down wherever it exists.”—Testimonies, vol. 9, pp. 179-181.

22. Christian, Fruitage of Spiritual Gifts, pp. 161, 162. “For many, many years, our members and their children in England, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, never tired of telling about Mrs. White. And when now and then in later years a few disloyal ones ridiculed and belittled the gift of prophecy and the servant of God, our people said: ‘We know better. We heard her speak. We have seen her humble, godly, inspiring life. We have her books, and they agree with the Bible and deepen our love for Jesus.’”

23. Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 107.

24. Maxwell, Tell It to the World, pp. 174-183; Emmet K. VandeVere, “Years of Expansion, 1865-1885,” in Land, Adventism in America, pp 87-94; Schwarz, “The Perils of Growth, 1886-1905,” in Land, Ibid., pp. 116-119; Spalding, Origin and History, vol. 2, pp. 191-212.

25. Manuscript 34, 1887, cited in Bio., vol. 3, p. 369.

26. Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 437-448. Students at Battle Creek College should “reach a higher standard of intellectual and moral culture” than could be found in “any other institution of the kind in our land.”—Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 425.

27. Review and Herald, May 24, 1877, p. 164.

28. Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 321.

29. Evangelism, p. 126; Delafield, Ellen G. White in Europe, p. 99.

30. Evangelism, pp. 136-139.

31. Ibid., p. 129.

32. Ibid., p. 143.

33. Ibid., p. 151.

34. Ibid., pp. 145, 673.

35. Ibid., p. 145.

36. The Ministry of Healing, p. 23.

37. Evangelism, p. 53. “Learn His ways. We shall gain much instruction for our work from a study of Christ’s methods of labor and His manner of meeting the people. . . . The words of the Master were clear and distinct, and were spoken in sympathy and tenderness. They carried with them the assurance that here was truth. It was the simplicity and earnestness with which Christ labored and spoke that drew so many to Him.”—Ibid., p. 53.

38. Ibid., pp. 59, 172, 339, 340, 162, 304; The Desire of Ages, p. 253.

39. The Ministry of Healing, pp. 22-24.

40. Evangelism, p. 55.

41. Ibid., p. 56.

42. Ibid., p. 57.

43. Ibid., p. 446; “Present Jesus because you know Him as your personal Saviour. Let His melting love, His rich grace, flow forth from human lips. You need not present doctrinal points unless questioned.”—Ibid., p. 442.

44. Welfare Ministry, p. 164.

45. Temperance/health sermons “will be an agency through which the truth can be presented to the attention of unbelievers. They will reason that if we have such sound ideas in regard to health and temperance, there must be something in our religious belief that is worth investigation.”—Evangelism, p. 514.

46. Evangelism, pp. 384-428; see Howard B. Weeks, Adventist Evangelism in the Twentieth Century (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1969).

47. Ibid., pp. 401, 402.

48. Robinson, Ella M., S. N. Haskell, Man of Action, (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1967), pp. 177-195. One of Ellen White’s evangelistic principles that the Haskells took seriously was: “If one half of the sermonizing were done, and double the amount of personal labor given to souls in their homes and in the congregations, a result would be seen that would be surprising.”—Evangelism, p. 430.

49. Testimonies, vol. 9, pp. 97-108; Review and Herald, July 1, 1909.

50. Letter 58, 1910, cited in Bio., vol. 6, p. 225; MR, vol. 6, pp. 73-77; vol. 10, pp. 362-364.

51. Valentine, The Shaping of Adventism, pp. 197-214.

52. Letter 68, 1910, cited in Bio., vol. 6, p. 229; pp. 219-230; MR, vol. 19, pp. 123, 124.

53. Schwarz, Light Bearers, pp. 336-341.

54. Schwarz, Ibid., p. 235.

55. For consistency, in this volume we refer to African-Americans as Blacks, even as we refer to Caucasians as Whites. In his illuminating 1970 book on Adventist race relations, Ron Graybill discussed the various terms that designate the two major races in the United States: “Ellen White generally used the term ‘colored’ in reference to those of African descent, but also ‘black’ and ‘Negro.’ Sometimes she even referred to them as the ‘Southern race’ or the ‘Southern people,’ just as she used ‘Southern work’ and ‘Southern field’ for ‘the work for the colored people’ in the South.”—E. G. White and Church Race Relations (Washington, D. C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1970), p. 11.

56. The Southern Work (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1966), p. 10.

57. Ibid., pp. 12-18.

58. Schwarz, Light Bearers, p. 236.

59. Ibid., pp. 237-242.

60. Review and Herald, Apr. 2, 1895, Nov. 26 to Dec. 24, 1895 Jan. 14 to Feb. 4, 1896; also found in The Southern Work, pp. 19-65.

61. Review and Herald, April 2, 1895, p. 210.

62. Ibid.

63. Graybill, Ellen G. White and Church Race Relations, p. 18. During this darkening night for the southern Blacks, in 1908 Ellen White wrote admonitions that have alarmed some people who read them in later years without understanding the frightening changes that had occurred subsequent to her strong, positive statements of 1895. For example, she reminded leaders that, from Australia years before, she had warned of the erupting color line crisis and how it would soon affect evangelistic work in the southern states. She cautioned: “Workers were to make no political speeches, and that the mingling of whites and blacks in social equality was by no means to be encouraged. . . . I said plainly that the work done for the colored people would have to be carried on along lines different from those followed in some sections of the country in former years. Let as little as possible be said about the color line, and let the colored people work chiefly for those of their own race. In regard to white and colored people worshiping in the same building, this cannot be followed as a general custom with profit to either party—especially in the South. . . . This is particularly necessary in the South, in order that the work for the white people may be carried on without serious hindrance. Let the colored believers be provided with neat, tasteful houses of worship. Let them be shown that this is done not to exclude them from worshiping with white people, because they are black, but in order that the progress of the truth may be advanced. Let them understand that this plan is to be followed until the Lord shows us a better way. . . . As time advances, and race prejudices increase, it will become almost impossible, in many places for white workers to labor for the colored people. . . . White ministers and colored ministers will make false statements, arousing in the minds of the people such a feeling of antagonism that they will be ready to destroy and to kill. . . . Let us follow the course of wisdom. . . .The time has not come for us to work as if there were no prejudice. . . . If you see that by doing certain things which you have a perfect right to do, you hinder the advancement of God’s work, refrain from doing these things. . . . All things may be lawful, but all things are not expedient.”—Testimonies, vol. 9, pp. 199-215.

64. “Let our workers be careful to speak guardedly at all times and under all circumstances. Let all beware lest by reckless expressions they bring on a time of trouble before the great crisis which is to try men’s souls.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 395.

65. Testimonies, vol. 9, pp. 214, 215, 207.

66. Ibid., p. 225.

67. The experiences of Edson White became a living (and frightful) experiment in testing the White hostility toward “outsiders” who were urging the improvement of the Blacks. See Graybill, Ellen G. White and Church Race Relations, pp. 53-69.

68. Letter 80-a, 1895, cited in Graybill, Ellen G. White and Church Race Relations, pp. 108, 109.

69. “Origin and Development of the SDA Work Among Negroes in the Alabama-Mississippi Conference,” unpublished M. A. thesis, Andrews University, August 1942, p. 21.


Study Questions

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1. What were some of the immediate concerns of early Sabbatarian Adventists that superseded any sense of a world mission?

2. In what significant ways did Ellen White prod her colleagues into thinking globally?

3. What two families were the first officially designated missionaries by the General Conference?

4. What three dynamic principles of evangelism were advocated by Ellen White?

5. Why is it said that Ellen White was the “greatest stimulus” in helping Seventh-day Adventists to reach out in missionary efforts to Blacks in the United States?

6. How do you explain Ellen White’s seeming reversal of counsel regarding how to work with the Blacks in the southern states of America between 1895 and 1908?

7. What were Ellen White’s high expectations for quality preparation before ministers and evangelists were formally assigned public responsibilities?

8. Name some of the “perplexing problems” that faced those who wanted to evangelize North American Blacks in the late nineteenth century and into the twentieth.

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