The Spirit at Minneapolis

Here, I have a compilation of some quotes from Sister White concerning the 1888 conference at Minneapolis. They describe the spirit that began to manifest among our people at that time, and that continues to this day. It demonstrates that our main problem that has brought in apostasy is not doctrinal. It is rather cherishing the satanic spirit of pride and its many manifestations instead of the Spirit of Christ. The spirit of the Trinity is not the root issue, but rather the spirit which appeared at Minneapolis in 1888 (when we believed in the true God). This spirit fosters debate and strife instead of coming together in prayer and humility until we come into the unity of faith. This would settle our doctrinal disagreements and restore the spiritual gifts to our people. Then, and only then, can we give the loud cry of the third angel to the world.

In this first part is a very relevant quote for today. The other quotes, which are shorter, will follow on page 2. This is a straight testimony to the Laodiceans and we need to apply it to ourselves. All emphases are mine.

The Laodicean Message Applies to Us

Those who opposed Brethren Jones and Waggoner manifested no disposition to meet them like brethren, and with the Bible in hand consider prayerfully and in a Christlike spirit the points of difference. This is the only course that would meet the approval of God, and His rebuke was upon those who would not do this at Minneapolis.

Yet this blind warfare is continued. Men of the same faith, in the same city, turn their weapons against each other. It is an astonishment to the heavenly universe. I feel deeply grieved, and if these things are a grief to me, how do they appear to Jesus, who suffered untold agony upon the cross to redeem men from the power of Satan and make them one in Christ? “All ye are brethren.” What can lead brethren to present before the world opposite opinions without first coming together in love and comparing views to see if they cannot come into harmony? Will my brethren tell me what spirit is moving them to action?

The Bible rules must be strictly followed. The matter concerning which a difference of opinion prevails should be calmly considered, with much prayer, with hearts yearning for unity, and with perfect love for one another’s souls. Examine every point as if you could see the whole heavenly universe looking upon you. If there is positive evidence that one of the brethren is in error, try to convince him from the Word of God. If success should not crown your efforts, even then the world has no business with this matter; for it would only dishonor the God of truth and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent.

I have received letters from different points telling the sad, discouraging results of these things. We have opposition enough from our foes, and we shall have conflicts fierce and strong; let us not now cause Satan to glory because of the pitched battles within our own ranks. The unity for which our Saviour prayed should be brought into our practical life. …

The conference at Minneapolis was the golden opportunity for all present to humble the heart before God and to welcome Jesus as the great instructor, but the stand taken by some at that meeting proved their ruin. They have never seen clearly since, and they never will, for they persistently cherish the spirit that prevailed there, a wicked, criticizing, denunciatory spirit. Yet since that meeting, abundant light and evidence has been graciously given, that all might understand what is truth. …

In the meekness of Christ canvass every point of difference. Search for the truth as for hidden treasures. It will not do to ignore these questions of vital interest. Human assertions are as valueless as straw. Many will miss the path to heaven because they risk their faith upon men. They resist the message of mercy because someone in whom they have confidence is indifferent to it. But the soul is of too great value to rest its faith on man. No one but Christ can ransom the soul. …

It is not the inspiration from heaven that leads one to be suspicious, watching for a chance and greedily seizing upon it to prove that those brethren who differ from us in some interpretation of Scripture are not sound in the faith.

There is danger that this course of action will produce the very result assumed, and to a great degree the guilt will rest upon those who are watching for evil. Had they been free from prejudice, and walking in humility, they would have been ready to receive light from whatever source; recognizing the Spirit of God and the grace of Christ, they would be indeed channels of light, and their long experience would make them safe counsellors, men of sound judgment.

God would have His people love one another and help one another, thus strengthening every good work. We should counsel with one another, the old, experienced laborers with those who God shall raise up to advance His work as we approach the great consummation. But if such men as Elder Smith, Elder Van Horn, and Elder Butler shall stand aloof, not blending with the elements God sees essential to carry forward the work in these perilous times, they will be left behind. God will complete His work in righteousness. These brethren have had every opportunity to stand in the ranks that are pressing on to victory, but if they refuse, the world will advance without them.

God will send by whom He will; His message will not return unto Him void, but will accomplish that whereunto it is sent. And if they refuse the message, the men whom God designed should hold the same relation to the younger workers as did Moses to Joshua will fail of doing the work the Lord designed they should do. They will be a hindrance in the place of a blessing. The work will go forward; but these brethren, who might have received the richest blessings, will meet with eternal loss, for though they should repent and be saved at last, they can never regain that which they have lost through their wrong course of action. They might have been God’s instruments to carry the work forward with power; but their influence was exerted to counteract the Lord’s message, to make the work appear questionable. Every jot and tittle of this will have to be repented of.

It is not the opposition of the world that we have to fear, but it is the elements that work among ourselves that have hindered the message. The efficiency of the movements for extending the truth depends upon the harmonious action of those who profess to believe it. Love and confidence constitute a moral force that would have united our churches, and insured harmony of action; but coldness and distrust have brought disunion that has shorn us of our strength.

The Lord designed that the messages of warning and instruction given through the Spirit to His people should go everywhere. But the influence that grew out of the resistance of light and truth at Minneapolis tended to make of no effect the light God had given to His people through the Testimonies. Great Controversy, Vol. IV, has not had the circulation it should have had, because some of those who occupy responsible positions were leavened with the spirit that prevailed at Minneapolis, a spirit that clouded the discernment of the people of God.

The work of opponents to the truth has been steadily advancing while we have been compelled to devote our energies in a great degree to counteracting the work of the enemy through those who were in our own ranks. The dullness of some and the opposition of others have confined our strength and means largely among those who knew the truth but did not practice its principles. If every soldier of Christ had done his duty, if every watchman on the walls of Zion had given the trumpet a certain sound, the world might ere this have heard the message of warning. But the work is years behind. What account will be rendered to God for thus retarding the work? …

The Lord has revealed to us that the Laodicean message applies to the church at this time, and yet how few make a practical application of it to themselves.

— E.G. White, Letter 77, 1893

Historical Author

This is a republished article or book excerpt from early Adventist history. The author will be credited at the end of the article.

One thought on “The Spirit at Minneapolis

  • 2021-02-13 at 3:30 pm

    I did not know this happened.
    Thanks for the post.


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