Chapter 25

Health Principles/2

Relationship of Health to a Spiritual Mission

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Young Annie Smith
J. N. Loughborough’s Experience
The Andrews Family
The Kellogg Family
Dr. Kellogg’s Endorsement
Linkage of the Health Message With the Gospel Commission
Health Principles and Spiritual Goals
Not Merely a Difference of Opinion
Linkage of the Minister and the Physician
Study Questions

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones” (Prov. 3:7, 8).

In their six pamphlets on health, the Whites deliberately included the writings of “able and experienced health reformers in addition to Ellen White’s articles.”1 Writing a few years later, James White said that the pamphlets were “made up chiefly from the most spirited and valuable articles and extracts from Trall, Jackson, Graham, Dio Lewis, Coles, Horace Mann, Gunn, and many others. . . . This work was readable and well adapted to the wants of the people. It has also had a wide circulation outside of Seventh-day Adventists, and its influence for good in calling the attention of the people to the subject of health reform can hardly be estimated.”2

In the first pamphlet, James White wrote the lead article, entitled, “Sanctification.” He set the tone for the six-pamphlet set in connecting physical health with spiritual health. Toward the end of this article he said: “To those who are active yet suffering from failing health we urgently recommend health publications, a good assortment of which we design to keep on hand. . . . To those who call themselves well, we would say: As you value the blessings of health, and would honor the Author of your being, learn to live in obedience to those laws established in your being by High Heaven.”3

The articles written by other health reformers were used to buttress Ellen White’s straight-forward counsel. At the same time, she urged caution regarding certain notions or suggestions in those other articles included in these six pamphlets, such as a warning that not all sick people may be strong enough for the heroics of cold-water therapy and heavy exercise for long periods of time.

Ellen White avoided the notions of contemporary health reformers that were in conflict with the principles she had received in vision, such as the condemnation of salt, not only as wholly lacking in nutrition but also as indigestible.

How many of these fundamental health principles had Adventists known and implemented in their lives prior to the Otsego vision? What was the result of this additional orbit of reform that those 3,500 Adventists now began to understand more clearly? Apart from Joseph Bates, who decided to be only a silent evangelist for health (see p. 280), very few had adopted any of these principles. Although these principles were discussed here and there, they surely did not represent the medical world in the mid-nineteenth century. And it seems just as certain that few Seventh-day Adventists had taken these reforms seriously prior to 1863.

Several Adventist families (including Annie Smith, J. N. Loughborough, the J. P. Kellogg family, and the J. N. Andrews family) seemed to have had some acquaintance with one or two of the contemporary advances, but the concept of total health eluded them until they got the coherent, spiritually motivated picture depicted by Ellen White. Some had tried hydrotherapy and used Graham bread. But their general lifestyle, including the way they related to diet, exercise, cleanliness, and fresh air, was generally the same as that of other Americans.4

Young Annie Smith

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While working at the publishing house in Rochester, New York, as one of James White’s editorial assistants, Annie Smith contracted tuberculosis (a very common disease). Although, according to her mother, she made use of hydrotherapy treatments, the disease progressed rapidly, and she was dead in eight months. Very gifted and almost indispensable, she died in 1855 at the age of 27.5

J. N. Loughborough’s Experience

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When J. N. Loughborough was 16, his uncle introduced him to “Graham bread” and a certain kind of hydrotherapy that consisted of bathing in ice-cold water followed by vigorous exercise. His lungs were hemorrhaging and the remedy advised was to smoke tobacco! Writing about the incident years later, Loughborough added: “This resort to cigar smoking shows how vague were our ideas of healthful living.”6

As a layman, Loughborough preached the doctrines of the First Day Adventists from 1849 to 1852. In 1852, when he was 20, he became a Seventh-day Adventist. In 1864, at age 32, he accompanied the Whites on a New England itinerary. He later wrote of this experience: “I have been greatly benefited in this trip, not only by their instruction in spiritual things, but also by the excellent information they imparted on health, diet, etc.

“And here I would say, that the instruction I have received on health, I am trying to practice. For the short time I have been striving to live strictly in accordance with the laws of life, I have been greatly benefited. It is, however, about one year since I commenced a reform in relation to meat-eating. As I had been in the habit of using meat three times a day when I could get it, for the first two months I only ate meat twice a week. Then for a month, once a week. Then for three months once a month. And for the last four months no meat has passed my lips. And for the last two months I have eaten but two meals a day. Never was sleep sweeter, or health better, or my mind more cheerful, since I first started in the service of God at the age of 17 years, than for the last two months.

“With the short experience I have had, I would not, for any consideration, go back to the meat, spice, pepper, sweet cake, pickles, mustard, headache, stomachache and gloom, and give up the good wholesome fruit, grain, and vegetable diet, with pure cold water as a drink, no headaches, cheerfulness, happiness, vigor and health.

“But I do not urge these things upon others, or judge them about their meat. But I do esteem it a privilege to tell them what a temporal blessing I have found in this direction.”7

The Andrews Family

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Angeline Andrews, scholarly John’s wife, kept a diary for the years 1859-1864. An early entry noted the butchering of a pig. She referred to the death of a neighbor child who had a sore throat. The physician lanced it and gave him a dose of morphine, all of which contributed to his sudden death.

In the fall of 1862, daughter Mary had whooping cough. Angeline wrapped the baby in wet sheets, attempting to reduce the fever. The local physician on several occasions administered an assortment of poisons such as ipecac, nitre, and quinine. The worried mother, still reaching out for help, received a recipe for syrup from her sister. After giving the dose to Mary, she wrote: “Mary has never been sicker than this afternoon. Medicine has no effect to vomit her as I supposed it would.”8

After an article on healing diphtheria with simple water treatments that James White had reprinted in the church paper,9 it seems that the Andrews family became more interested in “warm baths” in the treatment of illness. But other health reform notions were not evident in the Andrews family life.

In July 1869, J. N. Andrews wrote: “The subject of health reform has engaged my earnest attention for more than five years. During this entire period of time I have endeavored, as a matter of conscience, strictly to regard and live out the principles of this noble reform. As its effects upon myself have been very marked, and such that all with whom I have been associated for this period have observed them, I take pleasure in briefly stating my own experience.”10

In February 1872, he noted that the beginning of health reform for the Andrews family happened in March 1864.11 A month later, he wrote specifically about his family’s 1864 commitment when they put away “spice, pepper, vinegar . . . butter, meat, fish, and substituted graham flour for fine floor.” In their place, they now ate “plenty of good fruit, vegetables, grains,” and “used some milk and a very little salt.”12

The Kellogg Family

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The John P. Kellogg family eagerly followed truth as fast as they discovered it. By 1852 they were observing the seventh-day Sabbath through the efforts of Joseph Bates. In 1852 Kellogg had joined three other Adventist stalwarts in proposing to James White that they would underwrite the move of the printing establishment from Rochester, New York, to Battle Creek, Michigan, with a donation of $300 apiece—a heavy sum from their meager assets. Later, Kellogg headed the list of subscribers for the first health institution of the Adventist Church. He fathered sixteen children, including Dr. Merritt Kellogg, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, and Will K. Kellogg, the cornflake king. The Kellogg family was at the heart of the growing Adventist work in the midwest.

Family records indicate that the Kelloggs made good use of hydropathic methods. But apparently other aspects of health reform were either unknown or, if they were, their importance made no impact. Son John Harvey, born in 1852, recalled that two foods were his favorites in his childhood—ox tails nicely browned in the oven and the candy his father sold in the family store. In the Kellogg family cellar rested a keg of ale to be used “for a weak stomach.”13

Dr. Kellogg put the question of “who told Ellen White about health reform?” into sharp perspective when he wrote in 1890 in his preface to the book, Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene: “Nearly thirty years ago there appeared in print the first of a series of remarkable and important articles on the subject of health, by Mrs. E. G. White. . . . Thousands were led to change life-long habits, and to renounce practices thoroughly fixed by heredity as well as by long indulgence. So great a revolution could not be wrought in a body of people, without the aid of some powerful incentive, which in this case was undoubtedly the belief that the writings referred to not only bore the stamp of truth, but were endorsed as such by a higher than human authority. . . .

“At the time of the writings referred to first appeared, the subject of health was almost wholly ignored, not only by the people to whom they were addressed, but by the world at large. The few advocating the necessity of a reform in physical habits, propagated in connection with the advocacy of genuine reformatory principles the most patent and in some instances disgusting errors.

“Nowhere, and by no one, was there presented a systematic and harmonious body of hygienic truths, free from patent errors, and consistent with the Bible and the principles of the Christian religion.

“Many of the principles taught have come to be so generally adopted and practiced that they are no longer recognized as reforms, and may, in fact, be regarded as prevalent customs among the more intelligent classes. The principles which a quarter of a century ago were either entirely ignored or made the butt of ridicule, have quietly won their way into public confidence and esteem, until the world has quite forgotten that they have not always been thus accepted. . . .

“It certainly must be regarded as a thing remarkable, and evincing unmistakable evidence of divine insight and direction, that in the midst of confused and conflicting teachings claiming the authority of science and experience, but warped by ultra notions and rendered impotent for good by the great admixture of error—it must be admitted to be something extraordinary, that a person making no claims to scientific knowledge or erudition should have been able to organize, from the confused and error-tainted mass of ideas advanced by a few writers and thinkers on health subjects, a body of hygienic principles so harmonious, so consistent, and so genuine that the discussions, the researches, the discoveries, and the experience of a quarter of a century have not resulted in the overthrow of a single principle, but have only served to establish the doctrines taught.

“The guidance of infinite wisdom is as much needed in the discerning between truth and error as in the evolution of new truths. Novelty is by no means a distinguishing characteristic of true principles, and the principle holds good as regards the truths of hygienic reform, as well as those of other reformatory movements. . . .”14

What should we make of Dr. Kellogg’s unqualified endorsement of the impact of Ellen White’s seminal health messages derived from her Otsego vision in 1863?

Dr. Kellogg’s Endorsement

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· In 1863 health reform was “almost totally ignored” by Adventists and “the world at large.”

· The few who were advocating “reform” included with their insights “the most patent and . . . disgusting errors.”

· No one before Ellen White’s messages had presented “a systematic and harmonious body of hygienic truths, free from patent errors, and consistent with the Bible and the principles of the Christian religion.”

· Thousands changed lifelong habits after reading these messages because they recognized not only the inherent harmony of these truths, but also their divine endorsement.

· Ellen White’s principles have stood “the test of time and experience.”

· Many of those principles, ridiculed or ignored in 1863, had become accepted in 1890.

· Remarkable scientific discoveries since 1863 had only strongly fortified those principles, without “the overthrow of a single principle.”

· Divine guidance is “as much needed” in distinguishing truth from error as “in the evolution of new truths.”

· This nearly thirty-year record gives “unmistakable evidence of divine insight and direction”; in the midst of “confused and conflicting teachings” whereby a person “making no claims to scientific knowledge . . . should organize, from the confused and error-tainted mass of ideas a body of hygienic principles so harmonious, so consistent, and so genuine.”

Linkage of the Health Message With the Gospel Commission

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Ellen White consistently linked the health emphasis with the “third angel’s message”—as close as the “hand is with the body.”15 That is to say, the health message constituted a very important aspect of the “everlasting gospel” (Rev. 14:6). This fundamental linkage is based on three principles:

· The Humanitarian principle. In many ways, by example and teaching, Ellen White emphasized that the “work of health reform is the Lord’s means for lessening suffering in our world.”16

· The Evangelical principle. Ellen White was instructed (and her own experience validated the principle) that health reform is to be the bridge over which the gospel will meet people where they are. She called the health message a “great entering wedge . . . the door through which the truth for this time is to find entrance to many homes . . . [It] will do much toward removing prejudice against our evangelical work.”17

Specifically, in regard to Adventist health-care institutions, she wrote: “The great object of receiving unbelievers into the institution [the sanitarium] is to lead them to embrace the truth.”18

· The Soteriological principle. This third principle supplied the Adventist distinctive to nineteenth-century health reform: the Adventist emphasis on health was to help “fit a people for the coming of the Lord.” “He who cherishes the light which God has given upon health reform, has an important aid in the work of becoming sanctified through the truth, and fitted for immortality.”19

This threefold linkage has not always been understood. Some made the health message an end in itself in developing a worldwide network of hospitals and clinics; others made the health message into a compelling public relations stratagem whereby non-Adventists would become interested enough to sit through an evangelistic sermon. Both were worthy uses of Adventist health principles—but short of the primary purpose that made Ellen White’s health emphasis distinctive. The primary purpose was to join the spiritual and the physical on the practical, daily level of the average person.

Health Principles and Spiritual Goals

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Ellen White was specific and practical as she applied the principles of the Great Controversy Theme to joining the spiritual with the physical and mental. Placing health matters within the intent of the Three Angels’ Messages of Revelation 14 raised the health issue from personal opinion to the level of spiritual commitment and character development. Health principles were linked with spiritual goals:

· First duty to God and man is self-development. The following creative statement by Mrs. White has inspired many young people: “Our first duty to God and our fellow beings is that of self-development. . . . Hence that time is spent to good account which is used in the establishment and preservation of physical and mental health. We cannot afford to dwarf or cripple any function of body or mind.”20

· Heart reform before health reform. Ellen White kept priorities straight—preserving health is primarily a spiritual challenge: “Men will never be truly temperate until the grace of Christ is an abiding principle in the heart. . . . No mere restriction of your diet will cure your diseased appetite. . . . What Christ works within, will be worked out under the dictation of a converted intellect. The plan of beginning outside and trying to work inward has always failed, and always will fail.”21

· Preparation for the latter rain and the loud cry. This application of health principles is profound and distinctively an Adventist insight. Ellen White wrote in 1867: “God’s people are not prepared for the loud cry of the third angel. They have a work to do for themselves which they should not leave for God to do for them. . . . Lustful appetite makes slaves of men and women, and beclouds their intellects and stupefies their moral sensibilities to such a degree that the sacred, elevated truths of God’s Word are not appreciated. . . . In order to be fitted for translation, the people of God must know themselves. . . . They should ever have the appetite in subjection to the moral and intellectual organs.”22

· Health closely linked with sanctification. Ellen White was not hesitant in pointing to the direct relationship between daily habits and character development: “A diseased body and disordered intellect, because of continual indulgence in hurtful lust, make sanctification of the body and spirit impossible.”23 Further, for “those who have received instruction regarding the evils of the use of “flesh foods, tea, and coffee, and rich and unhealthful food preparations, . . . God demands that the appetite be cleansed, and that self-denial be practiced. . . . This is a work that will have to be done before His people can stand before Him a perfected people.”24

Adventist leaders such as J. H. Waggoner saw the distinctive difference between contemporary voices appealing for health reform and the “advanced principle” of Ellen White. Waggoner wrote: “We do not profess to be pioneers in the general principles of the health reform. The facts on which this movement is based have been elaborated, in a great measure, by reformers, physicians, and writers on physiology and hygiene, and so may be found scattered through the land. But we do claim that by the method of God’s choice it has been more clearly and powerfully unfolded, and is thereby producing an effect which we could not have looked for from any other means.

“As mere physiological and hygienic truths, they might be studied by some at their leisure, and by others laid aside as of little consequence; but when placed on a level with the great truths of the third angel’s message by the sanction and authority of God’s Spirit, and so declared to be the means whereby a weak people may be made strong to overcome, and our diseased bodies cleansed and fitted for translation, then it comes to us as an essential part of present truth, to be received with the blessing of God, or rejected at our peril.”25

· Health directly affects moral judgment. Probably Ellen White’s linking health with moral judgment has been one of the most compelling concepts for unnumbered thousands: “Anything that lessens physical strength enfeebles the mind, and makes it less capable of discriminating between right and wrong. We become less capable of choosing the good and have less strength of will to do that which we know to be right.”26

Many early Adventists conceded that eliminating pork and alcoholic beverages was in one’s best interest. Some further conceded that flesh foods were not beneficial. But the connection between temperance (self-control) and spiritual discernment, did not come quickly. Most, at first, saw no link between preaching the gospel or their own spiritual growth and what they ate. Ellen White maintained her course, often against many who thought she was advocating extremes. She resolutely led her colleagues into thinking more clearly: “Some have sneered at this work of reform, and have said it was all unnecessary; that it was an excitement to divert minds from present truth. They have said that matters were being carried to extremes. Such do not know what they are talking about. While men and women professing godliness are diseased from the crown of their head to the soles of their feet, while their physical, mental, and moral energies are enfeebled through gratification of depraved appetite and excessive labor, how can they weigh the evidences of truth, and comprehend the requirements of God?”27

· Commitment to health reveals one’s depth of caring for others. Ellen White was intensely practical. Her counsel was easy to understand. In those days before the services of the modern hospital and the latest antibiotics, the extended family often lived under one roof. The elderly and the sick were the burdens of whoever happened to be healthy at the moment.

Mrs. White, observing how heavy that burden fell on young busy mothers and other members of the family, wrote: “Many by their actions have said, ‘It is nobody’s business whether I eat this or that. Whatever we do, we are to bear the consequences ourselves.’ Dear friends, you are greatly mistaken. You are not the only sufferers from a wrong course. The society you are in bears the consequences of your wrongs, in a great degree, as well as yourselves. If you suffer from your intemperance in eating or drinking, we that are around you or associated with you are also affected by your infirmities. We have to suffer on account of your wrong course. . . . If, instead of having a buoyancy of spirit, you are gloomy, you cast a shadow upon the spirits of all around you. . . . We may have a good degree of confidence in our own judgment, yet we want to have counselors; for ‘in the multitude of counselors there is safety’. . . . But what care we for your judgment, if your brain nerve power has been taxed to the utmost, and the vitality withdrawn from the brain to take care of the improper food placed in your stomachs, or of an enormous quantity of even healthful food? . . . Therefore your course of living affects us. It is impossible for you to pursue any wrong course without causing others to suffer.”28

· Commitment to health is best motivated by a desire to glorify God in helping others. Paul made it clear that living for the glory of God is the Christian’s highest goal: “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). Ellen White frequently focused on this motivation as the “glory of self-sacrificing love. In the light from Calvary it will be seen that the law of self-renouncing love is the law of life for earth and heaven; that the love which ‘seeketh not her own’ has its source in the heart of God.”29

Side benefits of this highest motivation include longer life and less disease, etc. But if the higher motivation is eclipsed, much of health reform may be self-centered to the neglect of the well-being of others. Caring for one’s health is a spiritual matter, not merely a physical concern.

· Commitment to health among the factors relating to a prepared people. Ellen White directly linked a person’s commitment to physical and spiritual health with his or her readiness for eternal life. Here again “restoration”30the goal of The Great Controversy Theme—determined the philosophy of health.

Regarding the kind of people prepared for Jesus’s return, Mrs. White wrote: “We believe without a doubt that Christ is soon coming. . . . When He comes He is not to cleanse us of our sins, to remove from us the defects in our characters, or to cure us of the infirmities of our tempers and dispositions. If wrought for us at all, this work will all be accomplished before that time. When the Lord comes, those who are holy will be holy still. Those who have preserved their bodies and spirits in holiness, in sanctification and honor, will then receive the finishing touch of immortality.”31

Not Merely a Difference of Opinion

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Uniting or separating the physical from the spiritual is not merely a philosophical issue, nor a matter of only interpersonal differences of opinion. The Kellogg crisis of the late 1890s and early 1900s may have ended up as a power struggle but it rested on issues far deeper than personal opinion. It centered on the future direction of Adventist thought and practice. At the turn of the century the denomination was struggling with the growing strength of the “right arm.”32 The health-message proponents and its growing political (denominational) power seemed to be directing the worldwide program of the church.33 Complicating the confrontation were the aberrant theological views of Dr. Kellogg. At stake was not only the clarity of Adventist theology but also the direction of denominational finances.

Underlying the power struggle was the conviction of the medical leadership, with considerable evidence, that the ministerial leadership accepted only a part of the health message. Some denominational leaders actually resented Kellogg’s enthusiastic endorsement of Mrs. White’s larger view of healthful living—especially in her condemnation of flesh foods. Kellogg found it difficult to accept criticism of his book, The Living Temple, from meat-eating denominational leaders.34

Though wrong, from Kellogg’s point of view Ellen White’s support of the denomination’s “spiritual” leadership in 1901 (in the reorganization that would also limit the health arm) and in her attack on The Living Temple meant that she had been misled and strongly influenced by his enemies. The subsequent rupture between the health emphasis and the ministerial-theological leadership has separated many through the years and unnecessarily complicated the unified voice of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The administrative “surgery” in the 1900s that reduced the “right arm” to its proper relationship to the body only deepened the wound. Divorcing the spiritual from the physical created an even more serious illness. Reducing the “right arm’s” political power to its proper relationship to denominational organization crippled the deeper issues of how physical habits directly affect mental and spiritual health.

Some say that the “right arm” of the gospel of health has been living in virtual isolation from the spiritual body—a sign that the spiritual body has misunderstood its own gospel. For some strange reason, for the most part, neither spiritual leaders nor health leaders saw that physical habits could not be separated from spiritual growth if the integrity of the Adventist message was to be maintained. Ellen White called this separation between gospel ministers and medical missionary workers “the worst evil” that could be placed on the Adventist Church.35

This rupture is not a mere theoretical disagreement. Not including the principles of the health message within the fullness of the “everlasting gospel” directly affects the preparation of the church to fulfill its gospel commission. Further, it hinders growth in grace.36

This divorce between what God Himself had joined together has limited the potential of the Adventist witness and blunted the full impact of the “everlasting gospel.” (1) Denominational health-care institutions may not fully sense their original purpose of (a) instructing the world in the application of “natural remedial agencies” to prevent as well as cure disease and (b) to make their institutions an unequivocal witness to the principles of the gospel as developed in the third angel’s message.37 (2) At the same time, some spiritual leaders have either discredited or ignored the health principles that Dr. Kellogg and Ellen White strongly endorsed. Trying to promote the distinctive message of Revelation 14 with the right arm paralyzed is virtually self-defeating.

Both medical and ministerial leadership have often forgotten that one of the principles of the Great Controversy Theme is that men and women are responsible and that God will not work “miracles” that bypass obedience to known duty.38 When both health leaders and spiritual leaders encourage “healing” methods that bypass human responsibility for choices, the principles of life are violated. For example, when the sick are encouraged to receive health care without adherence to the natural laws that caused the sickness, the gospel is not understood.39 Or, when the sinner is encouraged to believe that God forgives when commitment to known duty is ignored, clearly the gospel is misrepresented.40

Ellen White boldly encouraged church members who sense “the dead level into which they have fallen” to reconnect the health message to the theological message: “Send into the churches workers who will set the principles of health reform in their connection with the third angel’s message before every family and individual. Encourage all to take a part in work for their fellow men, and see if the breath of life will not quickly return to these churches.”41

Linkage of the Minister and the Physician

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The Great Controversy Theme seeks “restoration” as the goal of salvation. Whatever subject Ellen White focuses on, this goal integrates all of its aspects. Thus the Great Controversy Theme informs the basis and purpose of health reform. It naturally follows, then, that the physician and the minister are to “work in tandem. Like harnessed horses, they . . . [are] to pull the Adventist carriage at the same speed.”42

In the developing years of Adventist health work, Ellen White riveted her contemporaries on the importance of joining health reform with the completion of the gospel commission.43 For her, the gospel evangelist/minister and the gospel healer were to work together with mutual aims and joint evangelistic efforts.44

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg was one of the few leaders who took Mrs. White’s counsel on health seriously. Few gospel ministers saw the same connection between the health message and spiritual development.45 And her support of Dr. Kellogg was never in doubt, until—until Dr. Kellogg’s fertile mind began to misunderstand the purpose of his own health message.

In 1896 he was instrumental in changing the name of his health network from the Seventh-day Adventist Medical Missionary and Benevolent Association to the International Medical Missionary and Benevolent Association. Two years later he explained that this organization was developed “to carry forward medical and philanthropic work independent of any sectarian or denominational control, in home and foreign lands.”46 In 1898 he declared at a convention of the association that the delegates gathered “‘here as Christians, and not as Seventh-day Adventists.’”47

Ellen White had been exceedingly patient with Dr. Kellogg, whom she and her husband had personally sponsored in getting his medical degree.48 She knew well the resentment and unpleasantries that some of the ministers had directed at him. And she knew also his untactful sharpness. But when he openly defied the denomination, which through the years had supplied the money for the development of his famous Battle Creek Sanitarium, she felt compelled to speak openly: “It has been stated that the Battle Creek Sanitarium is not denominational. But if ever an institution was established to be denominational in every sense of the word, this sanitarium was.”49

Dr. Kellogg was permitting health reform to eclipse theological principles. The situation came to a head, symbolized by the “iceberg” analogy.50 Though Ellen White groaned under the pending rupture between the ministers and the physicians, she was deeply sympathetic for her friend, Dr. Kellogg. In 1904 she wrote of her frustration and her empathy for him. But in that same letter she also wrote: “My brethren, the Lord calls for unity, for oneness. We are to be one in the faith. I want to tell you that when the gospel ministers and the medical missionary workers are not united, there is placed on our churches the worst evil that can be placed there. . . . It is time that we stood upon a united platform. But we cannot unite with Dr. Kellogg until he stands where he can be a safe leader of the flock of God.”51

The challenge ever since 1904 has been to address “the worst evil” that could rest on the Seventh-day Adventist Church. If the challenge is to be met, both ministers and physicians must restudy the counsel of Ellen White regarding the purpose of church health-care institutions, rethink the purpose of the “everlasting gospel” that must be proclaimed credibly before Jesus returns, and make a new commitment to the inspired principles set forth by Ellen White.


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1.Review and Herald, Dec. 13, 1864.

2.The Health Reformer, Feb., 1871.

3.Health, or How to Live, No. 1, p. 18.

4.A specialist in the history of medicine graphically describes nineteenth-century habits: “For all its apparent vitality, America in the early nineteenth century was a sick and dirty nation. Public sanitation was grossly inadequate, and personal hygiene virtually nonexistent. The great majority of Americans seldom, if ever, bathed. Their eating habits, including the consumption of gargantuan amounts of meat, were enough to keep most stomachs continually upset. Fruits and green and leafy vegetables seldom appeared on the table, and the food that did appear was often saturated with butter or lard. A ‘common’ breakfast consisted of ‘Hot bread, made with lard and strong alkalies, and soaked with butter; hot griddle cakes, covered with butter and syrup; meats fried in fat or baked in it; potatoes dripping with grease; ham and eggs fried in grease into a leathery indigestibility—all washed down with many cups of strong Brazil coffee.’ It is no wonder that one writer called dyspepsia ‘the great endemic of the northern states.’”—Numbers, Prophetess of Health, p. 48.

5.Rebekah Smith (mother) Poems With a Brief Sketch of the Life and Experience of Annie R. Smith (Manchester, N.H.: John B. Clarke, Printer, 1871).

6.Medical Missionary and Gospel of Health, Dec. 1899.

7.Review and Herald, Dec. 6, 1864.

8.Diary for August 25, 1862, in Heritage Room, Del E. Webb Memorial Library, Loma Linda University.

9.James C. Jackson, “Diphtheria, Its Causes, Treatment and Cure,” Review and Herald, Feb. 17, 1863.

10. Health Reformer, July 1869. Andrews died in 1883 at the age of 54, a victim of tuberculosis.

11. Ibid., Feb., 1872.

12. Ibid., Mar., 1872.

13. Richard Schwarz, John Harvey Kellogg, M.D., (Nashville: Southern Publishing Association, 1970), p. 25. Schwarz, John Harvey Kellogg: American Health Reformer (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1964), p. 10.

14. Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene (Battle Creek: Good Health Publication Company, 1890.) The preface does not name its author as Dr. J. H. Kellogg, however in his presentation to the General Conference session on March 3, 1897, Dr. Kellogg said: “Now in the preface to Christian Temperance you will find a statement which I presume not very many of you have read. There is no name signed to the preface, but I wrote it. But if you will read it, you will find a statement to the effect that every single statement with reference to healthful living, and the general principles that underlie the subject, have been verified by scientific discovery. I sometimes see some of our brethren appear to be a little shaky on the testimonies; they do not know whether these things come from the Lord or not; but to those I invariably say that if you will study the subject of health reform from the testimonies, and then from the light of scientific discovery—compare it with what science teaches at the present time—you will be amazed; you will see what a flood of light was given us thirty years ago. There is, however, a more amazing thing than that, and it is that this light which was given to us at that time, confirmed as it is by scientific discovery—I say the most amazing thing of all is that we as a people have turned our backs upon this, and have not accepted it, and believed in it as we should. I want to repeat it that there is not a single principle in relation to the healthful development of our bodies and minds that is advocated in these writings from Sister White, which I am not prepared to demonstrate conclusively from scientific evidence.” Ellen White wrote the part of the book called “Christian Temperance,” and “Bible Hygiene” was written by James White.

15. Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 62.

16. Ibid., vol. 9, p. 112.

17. Evangelism, pp. 513, 514

18. Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 560.

19. Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 161; Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, p. 10

20. Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 15; see also Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 329.

21. Ibid., p. 35.

22. Ibid., pp. 32, 33.

23. Ibid., p. 44.

24. Ibid., p. 381.

25. Review and Herald, Aug. 7, 1866.

26. Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 346.

27. Counsels on Diet and Foods, pp. 50, 51. “What a pity it is that often, when the greatest self-denial should be exercised, the stomach is crowded with a mass of unhealthful food, which lies there to decompose. The affliction of the stomach affects the brain. The imprudent eater does not realize that he is disqualifying himself for laying plans for the best advancement of the work of God.”—Ibid., p. 53.

28. Testimonies, vol. 2, pp. 356, 357.

29. The Desire of Ages, p. 20; Ibid., p. 824; Education, p. 125.

30. The Desire of Ages, p. 824; Education, p. 125. See p. 257.

31. Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 355.

32. Ibid., see vol. 6, p. 327.

33. In 1901 John Harvey Kellogg’s Medical Missionary and Benevolent Association employed about 2,000 workers compared to only 1,500 under the direction of the General Conference.—Schwarz, Light Bearers, p. 278.

34. “To Kellogg, the chief villains responsible for denominational backsliding in regard to health principles were the Adventist ministry. They, the doctor charged, tended to ‘discourage the people by their example.’”—Schwarz, John Harvey Kellogg, p. 175.

35. Medical Ministry, p. 241.

36. Review and Herald, May 27, 1902.

37. The Ministry of Healing, p. 127. “The purpose of our health institutions is not first and foremost to be that of hospitals. The health institutions connected with the closing work of the gospel in the earth stand for the great principles of the gospel in all its fullness. . . . If a sanitarium connected with this closing message fails to lift up Christ and the principles of the gospel as developed in the third angel’s message, it fails in its most important feature, and contradicts the very object of its existence.”—Medical Ministry, pp. 27, 28.

38. See pp. 274, 310.

39. Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 441.

40. Selected Messages, book 1, p. 396; Steps to Christ, pp. 23-33.

41. Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 416. “Make regular, organized efforts to lift the church members out of the dead level in which they have been for years. Send out into the churches workers who will live the principles of health reform. Let those be sent who can see the necessity of self-denial in appetite, or they will be a snare to the church. See if the breath of life will not then come into our churches. A new element needs to be brought into the work.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 267.

42. Bull and Lockhart, Seeking a Sanctuary, p. 219.

43. See pp. 285, 292.

44. “I wish to speak about the relation existing between the medical missionary work and the gospel ministry. It has been presented to me that every department of the work is to be united in one great whole. The work of God is to prepare a people to stand before the Son of man at His coming, and this work should be a unit. The work that is to fit a people to stand firm in the last great day must not be a divided work. . . .

“Gospel workers are to minister on the right hand and on the left, doing their work intelligently and solidly. There is to be no division between the ministry and the medical work. The physician should labor equally with the minister, and with as much earnestness and thoroughness for the salvation of the soul, as well as for the restoration of the body.”—Medical Ministry, p. 237. “The Holy Spirit never has, and never will in the future, divorce the medical missionary work from the gospel ministry. They cannot be divorced. Bound up with Jesus Christ, the ministry of the word and the healing of the sick are one.”—Manuscript 21, 1906, cited in Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 7.

45. Bull and Lockhart, Seeking a Sanctuary, p. 219.

46. Medical Missionary, Jan. 1898, cited in Bio., vol. 5, p. 160.

47. Medical Missionary Conference Bulletin, May, 1899, Extra, cited in Bio., Ibid.

48. Schwarz, John Harvey Kellogg: American Health Reform, op. cit., p. 29.

49. Letter 128, 1902, to “The GC Committee and the Medical Missionary Board,” cited in Bio., vol. 5, p. 160. Later in that letter she wrote: “Why are sanitariums established if it is not that they may be the right hand of the gospel in calling the attention of men and women to the truth that we are living amid the perils of the last days? And yet, in one sense, it is true that the Battle Creek Sanitarium is undenominational, in that it receives as patients people of all classes and all denominations. . . . We are not to take pains to declare that the Battle Creek Sanitarium is not a Seventh-day Adventist institution; for this it certainly is. As a Seventh-day Adventist institution it was established to represent the various features of gospel missionary work, thus to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord.”

50. See Bio., vol. 5, p. 160.

51. Manuscript 46, 1904, an address to the union conference session at Battle Creek, cited in Bio., vol. 5, p. 332.

Study Questions

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1. Why do you think Dr. Kellogg’s introduction to Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene is significant?

2. What are the three basic principles that link the health message with the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church? How have they developed in the work of Seventh-day Adventists?

3. Do you agree that “restoration” is a good one-word description of the plan of salvation? How does this concept relate to health principles?

4. What is the essential message in the “iceberg” analogy involving Dr. Kellogg?

5. In what way is the Christian’s “first duty toward God” and our fellow human beings that of self-development and yet the opposite of self-centeredness?

6. How do health principles directly affect spiritual goals, and how does the health of God’s people relate to end-time events?

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