By George R. Knight
Booklet through Knight, George R.
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Additional info for Anticipating the advent : a brief history of Seventh-Day Adventists
In fact, neither was there a systematic way to gather funds. As we shall soon see, the crisis of an underpaid and demoralized ministry led to the near collapse of the Sabbatarian movement in 1856. Third, there was no legal organization for holding property. That was not much of a problem in 1850, but by late in the decade it became an issue that had to be addressed. Perhaps the first significant discussions among Sabbatarians regarding gospel order took place in 1850 and 1851. At that time the issue was the withdrawing of the hand of fellowship from members who had become mixed up with spiritualism and other un-Christian activities.
Early Moves Toward Formal Organization Due to aggressive outreach through conferences and publica tions to the large body of searching Millerites, by 1852 the Sabbatarian Adventists were experiencing rapid growth. Ac cording to one estimate that seems fairly accurate, their adher ents went from about 200 in 1850 to approximately 2,000 in 1852. While that type of growth is a blessing to a religious movement, it also brings its own problems. Thus it should come as no surprise to find the leading Sabbatarians and some local congregations becoming concerned with “gospel order” (church organization) in the early 1850s.
The three founders of Seventh-day Adventism—Joseph Bates and James and Ellen White—all accepted the teaching of condi tional immortality. To them it not only made Bible sense, but it seemed to be necessitated by their theology. After all, a belief in immortal souls already in heaven or hell seemed to do away with the need for the pre- and postmillennial resurrections described in the New Testament. Beyond that, if people already had their reward, what need would there be for a preadvent judgment?
Anticipating the advent : a brief history of Seventh-Day Adventists by George R. Knight