J. N. Andrews was an intellectual who enjoyed “severe study” much more than physical activity. He was closely associated with James & Ellen White in the leadership and evangelistic work of the SDA Church.
As a theologian, Andrews made great strides in the development of church doctrines. He applied the two-horned beast of Rev. 13 to the United States of America. Further, he was influential in creating the church’s bylaws and constitution. In 1855, after thorough investigation, Andrews adopted sunset Friday evening as the beginning of the Sabbath. This began a standard for the church. He also organized the church as a legal business association, allowing the church to obtain legal possession of property. During the Civil War, Andrews lobbied for non-combatant designation for SDA draftees.
In 1860, he was involved in the organization of the denominational publishing house. The following year, he published his extensive research, History of the Sabbath & the First Day of the Week. This was a work reviewing the seventh-day Sabbath in history. Between 1869-70, he was the editor of the Review and Herald.
In 1874, he became the first SDA missionary in Switzerland. He worked to gather the scattered Sabbath-keeping companies and organize them with a united message. While living in Basel, he contracted tuberculosis and died. He was 54.
(Vol. 6, No. 2 of “Lest We Forget” features J. N. Andrews.)
Joseph Bates (1792-1872)
At age 15, Joseph Bates “shipped” on a commercial vessel. For the next twenty-one years he lived the life of a sailor and ship captain. He returned to civilian life in 1828 with a small fortune. During the Advent Awakening, the retired sea captain became a respected evangelist and spiritual leader among the Adventists.
In early 1845, Bates was providentially led to an understanding of the truth concerning the seventh-day Sabbath, and in 1846 he published a 48-page tract on the subject. The respected Captain was the oldest member of our church pioneers, and he became the first Seventh-day Adventist local conference president (Michigan, 1861). He lived to the age of 80. One reason for his physical endurance, in spite of many sacrifices, was his simple diet and temperate habits. He organized of the first temperance societies in the United States. Bates was a spiritual man with clear-cut views and the courage of a lion. He did not hesitate to sacrifice when the need arose. Let us thank God for the venerable Captain — apostle of the Sabbath truth.
(Vol. 1, No. 3 of “Lest We Forget” features Joseph Bates.)
Sylvester Bliss (1814-1863)
Sylvester Bliss was the ablest of the Millerite editors. He was first assistant editor, then editor, of the Millerite journal The Signs of the Times. He was a Congregationalist from Hartford, Conneticut, with a liberal education and was a member of the Historical Society of Boston. He was also an editor of the Advent Shield and later edited the Memoirs of Miller (1853). Among his works are Commentary on the Revelation, The Time of the End, and Analysis of Sacred Chronology. He remained until his death the editor of the Advent Herald (a later name of The Signs of the Times), which remained the organ of the group of ex-Millerites who did not accept the doctrine of conditional immortality.
(Source: SDA Encyclopedia)
Daniel T. Bourdeau (1835-1905)
Daniel T. Bourdeau was an evangelist and missionary, and brother of A. C. Bourdeau. At 11 years of age he joined the Baptist Church and at 16, with his brother, attended a Baptist French-language institution at Grand Ligne, Lower Canada. In 1861 he married Marion E. Saxby. Ordained to the SDA ministry in 1858, he, with his brother, spent many years in evangelism in New England and Canada. As far as is known, the two brothers were the first of French descent to have accepted the SDA faith.
In 1868, with J. N. Loughborough, he responded to a call from an SDA group in California, headed by M. G. Kellogg, to open SDA work in that State. When he returned to the East in 1870 he resumed work among the French-speaking people and organized churches in Wisconsin and Illinois (1873).
In 1876 he went to Europe to spend a year of evangelistic work in Switzerland, France, and Italy, and associated with J. N. Andrews in editorial work. Again in 1882, with his brother, he took up evangelistic work in Europe, working in France, Switzerland, Corsica, Italy, and Alsace-Lorraine. Altogether he spent seven years overseas. On returning to America (1888), he continued as a minister and writer, working at first for French-speaking people, and then largely for the English.
(Source: SDA Encyclopedia)
Merritt E. Cornell (1827-1893)
Born in New York state, and raised from age 10 in Michigan, Merritt Cornell early believed the advent message, and dedicated his life to preaching it. In 1852 he was shown and believed the Sabbath truth, and immediately began sharing it with others, J. P. Kellogg and Cornell’s father-in-law, Henry Lyon, being among the first persons he met. Both accepted the Bible evidence for the seventh day sacredness.
With J. N. Loughborough during 1854 in Battle Creek he held the first Sabbatarian Adventist tent meetings. He continued to be active in evangelism, working at various times with Hiram Case, James White, J. H. Waggoner, R. J. Lawrence, D. M. Canright, and J. O. Corliss. His wife, Angeline, assisted him in evangelism. He traveled from Maine to California and to several states in the South, defending Seventh-day Adventist views of scripture in public debate, holding evangelistic meetings, and writing articles and news items about his experiences for the Review and Herald. Like Peter of old, he was headstrong and had other serious character faults, with which the Lord labored with him, sending messages through Ellen White. For some 13 years, from 1876 to 1889 he was not connected with the organized work, but continued some free-lance preaching for part of that time. In 1886 Ellen White wrote that he was “a deeply repenting man, humbled in the dust.” For the last three years of his life, he was again in the ministry.
(Vol. 6, No. 1 of “Lest We Forget” features M. E. Cornell.)
Charles Fitch (1805-1844)
After studying at Brown University in Rhode Island, Charles Fitch began his ministry in the Congregational Church at Abington, Connecticut. In March of 1838 Fitch wrote William Miller stating that he had read Miller’s Lectures and did not doubt the correctness of his views. For approximately three and a half years, he held back from preaching the Millerite message. Eventually, because he preached the doctrine of “holiness” and was exhorted not to do so, Fitch felt it necessary to separate from the established church. This separation caused him to be less influenced by the fear of man regarding the Millerite understanding of the advent.
Josiah Litch visited Fitch and told him he needed the doctrine of the second advent to add to his doctrine of holiness. Litch left him more literature to study and requested he correspond as to the result of his study. This study led to his accepting the advent doctrine.
Thereafter, Fitch traveled tirelessly, throwing himself unreservedly into proclaiming the need of preparation for the Second Coming of Christ. He moved his family to Cleveland, Ohio and held meetings and baptisms all over Ohio.
In 1842, feeling the need of an accurate chart, Fitch and Apollos Hale prepared the famous chart illustrating the fulfillment of the last-time prophecies of Daniel. This was used extensively by the Millerites. Fitch himself used this chart and also other visual aids including a replica of the Daniel 2 statue that could be separated into its various parts. Charles Fitch became seriously ill, probably with pneumonia, in the month of October, 1844. He had chilled while baptizing converts. He died on Monday, October 14th, in full faith that he should awake in a few days in the likeness of his Redeemer.
(Vol. 2, No. 3 of “Lest We Forget” features Charles Fitch.)
John Norton Loughborough (1832-1924)
J. N. Loughborough became a Sabbath-keeping Adventist through the labors of J. N. Andrews. He began preaching immediately and was ordained in 1854. He, along with D. T. Bordeau, were our first missionaries, sent to California in 1868. In 1878, he was sent to Europe. He was at one time president of the Illinois Conference. He was the denomination’s first historian, and wrote the books, The Rise and Progress of Seventh-day Adventists and The Great Second Advent Movement.
Like most of the early Advent leaders, Loughborough took a real interest in the literature work. He and James White discussed ways and means of advancing the work of the gospel. It was suggested that if books were offered to the public in connection with preaching services, the people would be willing to pay a small price for them. Thus, the way would be prepared for more literature to be produced. Young Loughborough tried this method, and it was a success.
Loughborough was truly a great pioneer, lending his many talents to the development of the work wherever there was a need.
Elder Loughborough was obedient to the heavenly vision, and God used him in a mighty way to build up the interest of His cause. Loughborough spent his last years in the St. Helena Sanitarium, where he passed away peacefully on April 7, 1924, at the ripe old age of ninety-two.
(Vol. 6, No. 4 of “Lest We Forget” features J. N. Loughborough.)
Thomas M. Preble (1810-1907)
T. M. Preble was a Freewill Baptist minister of New Hampshire, and Millerite preacher. He accepted the Sabbath in the middle of 1844 (perhaps from Mrs. Rachel Oakes or someone else in Washington, New Hampshire). He was the first Adventist to advocate the Sabbath in print. His article in the Hope of Israel (an Adventist periodical of Portland, Maine) of February 28, 1845, was reprinted in tract form in March under the title Tract, Showing That the Seventh Day Should Be Observed As the Sabbath. This introduced the seventh-day Sabbath to Joseph Bates, who later wrote his own tract on the Sabbath. But Preble observed the seventh day only until the middle of 1847. In later years he wrote against the Sabbath in the World’s Crisis (an Advent Christian paper) and in his book First-Day Sabbath.
(Source: SDA Encyclopedia)
George Storrs (1796-1879)
Born in New Hampshire, George Storrs was converted and joined the Congregational Church at the age of 19. He felt called to preach, and joined the Methodist ministry in 1825 through the influence of a godly Methodist minister. He preached much about slavery, even being arrested in 1835 while praying for the slaves during an antislavery society meeting. He was set free after a trial.
In 1837 he studied what the Bible had to say about the state of the dead after reading a tract on the subject. His conclusions led him to leave the Methodist church. In 1842 he published six sermons he had given on the topic. The same year he heard the Advent message, and began preaching the soon coming of Christ, distributing copies of his “Six Sermons” as he preached.
Charles Fitch wrote him January 25, 1844: “As you have long been fighting the Lord’s battles alone, on the subject of the state of the dead, and of the final doom of the wicked, I write this to say, that I am at last, after much thought and prayer, and a full conviction of duty to God, prepared to take my stand by your side.”
Storrs published a paper called “The Bible Examiner” from 1843 until he died in 1879. He did not accept the sanctuary message which explained the disappointment, nor the seventh-day Sabbath truth, but continued to believe the Bible teaching about the state of the dead.
(Vol. 1, No. 4 of “Lest We Forget” features George Storrs.)
Ellen G. White (1827-1915)
Ellen Harmon was born in Gorham, Maine. Ellen and her family first heard William Miller preach in 1840. She was converted at a Methodist camp meeting that same year, and was baptized two years later.
In December of 1844, Ellen received her first vision, regarding the travels of the advent people to the city of God. The Lord called her to a life-long ministry as His messenger. She met James White in February 1845, marrying him in August of 1846.
The early years of their marriage were marked with poverty, hard work, and poor health. In 1849 in response to a message from God through Ellen, James began a publishing work, beginning with the Present Truth.
In addition to personal messages given her for specific people, Mrs. White received visions and dreams outlining the Bible truths for our time. She wrote extensively on topics as varied as the great controversy between Christ and Satan, healthful living, proper methods of education, and godly family relations. Out of these messages, the believers were led to begin schools, sanitariums, and publishing houses.
She did the bulk of her writing during the last three decades of her life. During these years she labored particularly with others to bring the message of righteousness by faith in an end-time setting to the church, and then endeavored to contain the damage that ensued when this truth was rejected.
Mrs. White’s last years were spent living in California. Through times of apostasies and fires of judgment, the Lord continued to speak through her until the end, guiding, reproving, instructing the remnant church, ever pointing the sinner to Jesus and the cross, and sounding a clarion call to prepare to meet the Lord.
Ellen White’s writings are available at the Ellen G. White Estate.
|Although A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner are not considered pioneers, the message God gave them was “a special message”, “a most precious message”, “to be given to the world”, “to prepare a people to stand in the day of God.” It was “the matchless charms of Christ” (The 1888 Ellen G. White Materials, p. 43, 1336-1337, 1814, and 348). Their contribution is appreciatively noted.
Dr. Ellet J. Waggoner (1855-1916)
In 1884 E. J. Waggoner became assistant editor of the Signs of the Times, under his father, J. H. Waggoner. Two years later, he and A. T. Jones became editors of the same journal, Waggoner remaining in the position until 1891.
At the 1888 General Conference session in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he and Jones gave their famous series of sermons on righteousness by faith.
In 1892 he became editor of the Present Truth, in England, where he lived until 1902. While there he conducted, with W. W. Prescott, a workers’ training school and, for a short time, was president of the South England Conference.
After returning to the United States, he worked briefly on the staff of Emmanuel Missionary College.
Domestic difficulties led to divorce and remarriage, resulting in his becoming separated from denominational employment. Some used this as a springboard to discredit his positive testimony on righteousness by faith, as Mrs. White once warned might happen if he were overthrown by the temptations of the enemy.
Regardless of what happened to the man, Mrs. White declared about the message, “I see the beauty of truth in the presentation of the righteousness of Christ in relation to the law as the doctor has placed it before us.” MS 15, 1888. She also said, “When the Lord had given to my brethren the burden to proclaim this message, I felt inexpressively grateful to God, for I know it was the message for this time.” MS. 24, 1888.
|W. W. Prescott was also in the 1890’s said to be one of “the Lord’s chosen messengers, beloved of God” who had “co-operated with God in the work for this time” (The 1888 Ellen G. White Materials, p. 1241). God gave him “a special message for the people” which he gave “in demonstration of the Spirit and power of God.” (EGW, Review and Herald, January 07, 1896)