The Shadow of the Stanton Controversy, part 2

Editor’s Note: 

In Part I of “The Shadow of the Stanton Controversy,” a brief history of the Stanton Controversy was given: In the early part of 1893, two brethren, one of whom was Stanton, after attending the General Conference (held during parts of February and March) published a pamphlet called the Loud Cry. In this tract the Seventh-day Adventist Church was denounced as Babylon (the great Spiritual Babylon of Revelation 18). This tract proclaimed the fall of the Seventh-day Adventist Church as Babylon and called upon the people to come out of her. This tract was widely circulated. Ellen White began writing pointed rebuttals against this pamphlet and the two men publishing and circulating it. Our first article gave some of the Ellen White definitions about who and what the church is as found in these “Stanton manuscripts.” The church was defined in these manuscripts as God’s chosen people who are keeping His commandments, especially the fourth commandment, and are receiving the Holy Spirit and who will give the final warning to the world. The church is that group of people breasting the opposition from the world, and uplifting God’s down-trodden law. The church has the added, qualifying definition, as those who are laborers together with God. These definitions of the church quoted from Ellen White in the previous article are essential if the rest of the manuscripts, now to be discussed, are to be understood.

“At the time of the first advent of Christ to our world, the men who composed the Sanhedrin exercised their authority in the controlling men according to their will. Thus the souls whom Christ had given His life to free from the bondage of Satan were brought under bondage to him in another form.” Testimonies to Ministers, 361

“When error in one garb has been detected, Satan only marks it in a different disguise, and multitudes receive it as eagerly as at the first.” Great Controversy, 285

In these two perceptive statements Ellen White unmasks how the great deceiver works. When people have been delivered from a deception of the devil, he takes that very deception and masks it in a different dress and often it is accepted again by those very people!

In 1893, Stanton attempted to separate true and faithful Seventh-day Adventists from the second advent movement, by calling that movement Babylon. Through the agency of the Spirit of Prophecy this deception was unmasked.

“How is it that men can be so deceived as to imagine that the loud cry consists in calling the people of God out from a church that is enjoying a season of refreshing? Review and Herald, October 17, 1893.

The devil has taken the same deception and masked it in a different dress, and it has apparently now been accepted by the General Conference, and most local conferences and missions throughout the world! (We will give evidence for this later.) The thrust in the General Conference and the local conferences and missions throughout the world today is to separate the true and faithful from the second advent movement-the deception is the same, though masked in different garb.


The Devil’s Objectives


First we need to list, from the pen of Ellen White, how the devil was trying to destroy God’s church in Stanton’s day. We will then easily be able to see how the devil has taken the same deceptions and masked them in a different dress so that today they are almost universally accepted. All references are from the Stanton manuscripts, from the Review and Herald articles, only dates will be given.

The Spirit of Prophecy unmasks Satan’s deceptions. (This is a major reason why the devil and his agents hate the Spirit of Prophecy.) Ellen White stated the following objectives that the devil wanted to accomplish:

  1. Perplex, harass, and cause the people of God great distress. (Ibid. August 22, 1893)
  2. Accuse and claim that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is Babylon calling attention to the sins of those who are repentant. To make perverse accusations against those who keep the commandments of God. (September 5, 1893.)
  3. Bring persons who are not converted into the fellowship of the Seventh-day Adventist church and thus corrupt the people of God (Ibid.)
  4. Through specious deceptions and delusions, use the proud to break up the unity of the church (Ibid.) and create confusions. (September 12, 1893.)
  5. Tear down that which God is trying to build up, deriding the ministry, resulting in making of none effect the ministry of Ellen White and the Spirit of Prophecy, and leading people to believe that her message was not from God. (September 5, 1893)
  6. Advocate error and originate false theories and new devices to create a false excitement which will divert and deceive through false positions.(September 12, 1893; November 8, 1956, which is from an 1893 EGW manuscript.)
  1. Cause division in the church diverting their means into harmful channels and hinder the church from attaining perfection in unity. (September 12, 1893)
  2. Cast all the reproach possible on the chosen ones whom he cannot deceive, clothing repentant, believing, commandment-keeping people of God in the blackest and most filthy, defiled garments. (October 17, 1893; November 8, 1956)
  3. Hurl thunderbolts against the church of Christ militant in the hope of tearing it down, discouraging it and finally destroying it. (November 8, 1956.)

Ellen White makes it very clear in the Stanton manuscripts, that in 1893, Brother Stanton and his associates were being led by the devil, and doing his work. “In place of working with divine agencies to prepare of people to stand in the day of the Lord, they have taken their stand with him who is an accuser of the brethren. Who accuses them before God day and night. Satanic agencies have been moved from beneath, and they have inspired men to unite in a confederacy of evil, that they may perplex, harass, and cause the people of God great distress.” Review and Herald, August 22, 1893. “A work of this character is inspired not from above, but from beneath.” Ibid., August 29, 1893.

If we see the big picture of the great controversy, we will not so easily be misled by some sentence or paragraph in the Bible or Spirit of Prophecy that we do not understand immediately. What is the big picture? What was Satan accomplishing through the Stanton work? Ellen White makes that clear also. “The message that has been borne by those who have proclaimed the church to be Babylon, has made the impression that God has no church upon earth.

Stanton was broadcasting a message designed to separate the true and faithful Adventists from the second advent movement, leaving no movement at all! The same deception dressed in a different garb is worldwide today and it is having marvelous success. Instead of just two men, whole conference and mission organizations are dedicated to bringing it about.


The True and Faithful


We will now give evidence that illustrates the above. First of all, who are the true and faithful in the second advent movement? This is a question that the Lord will give an infallible answer to in the day of judgment. We are not to judge the heart or character of our brothers, but we are to judge the fruit on the tree-the outward life, words and actions. See Matthew 7:15-20. We have been given counsel in the inspired writings to help us see if we are in harmony with the true and faithful.

  1. They will bear faithful witness to the truth of the Third Angel’s message. See Appendix #1.
  2. They accept God’s message and messenger and give evidence of this by bearing fruit to God’s glory. See Appendix #2
  3. They are actively involved in missionary activity. See Appendix #3
  4. They are not only professors of the truth but doers. See Appendix #4
  5. They live out all the light they have. See Appendix #5
  6. True and faithful ministers will reprove sin and attempt to keep the church pure. See Appendix #6
  7. They bear a straightforward testimony. See Appendix #7

As show in the first article in this series, the true and faithful are the movement.

Everything else that clings to the truth as a parasite is still just a parasite, which God will separate through the shaking from the true and faithful who constitute the movement.

Satan’s objective is to make it impossible for the lost people of this world to find the truth, to find the true and faithful—the actual second advent movement. The only people that they can find the living truth from are the true and faithful, and if the impression can be given that there is no church of God on earth or if their identity can be obscured so that nobody can find them, then Satan will attempt and appear to triumph. This is what the devil was trying to do in the Stanton controversy, and that is what he is trying to do today. Only today, instead of having two men, he has thousands of professed Seventh-day Adventists who are attempting to separate the true and faithful Seventh-day Adventists from the movement and make it impossible for the lost of this world to find the living truth. Truth must not just be taught, it must be lived. The lost must be able to see it lived out, and only the true and faithful can demonstrate this. Against them the most bitter wrath of the devil is concentrated. Their life is one long series of trials because if what they teach and live is communicated to the world, the end of the world will soon come, Christ will triumph and the devil will be put out of business.

As local congregations, conference and higher offices in Adventism have been progressively taken over by new teachings which are contrary to the historic Adventist message, it has been impossible for the true and faithful to remain silent, without giving a protest. It has become impossible for the true and faithful to financially support that which they know is apostasy. It has become impossible for the true and faithful to remain and listen to error being taught from the pulpit or in the classroom.

One of the most serious errors being taught by conservative Adventist pastors today is the teaching about the function and authority of conference church organizations. It is just the same as in Jesus’ day.


A Separation


For all of these reasons the true and faithful have found it necessary to establish churches not associated with this apostasy. This has not been a separation movement anymore than the advent movement in 1840-1844 was a separation movement. However, separation has occurred because professed Adventists were determined to cling to their apostasy and would not to the voice of reproof and the appeal to return to historic Adventist teachings based upon the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. Professed Adventists have demonstrated a determination that the Third Angel’s Message not be given, and they have said that it was not time to distribute Great Controversy. (See what Ellen White said about this in Appendix item #8.) They do not want to endure the trouble that they know is sure to come from the Proclamation of the Third Angel’s Message. This is the reason that true and faithful Adventists were ostracized and finally beaten up and their church burned down in Papua New Guinea., all because they would not cease to preach and teach the Three Angels’ Messages. It is true that mistakes have been made in the way the message has been given, but the solution to the mistakes is not to quit giving the message. The same spirit has been demonstrated as by John and James when they forbade someone who was not part of their organization to communicate the gospel. (Mark 9:38-40)

Why are true and faithful Adventists around the world, who faithfully proclaiming the Three Angels’ Messages and attempting to live according to all the commandments, being threatened with lawsuits if they use the name “Seventh-day Adventist?” The big objective the devil has is the same as in the time of the Stanton controversy—to leave the impression that there is no true and faithful people who keep God’s commandments. For over 100 years the name “Seventh-day Adventist” has been a significant means used by those who keep the commandments of God, follow the Spirit of Prophecy and faith of Jesus, to identify themselves. But if this name is taken away from the true and faithful Adventists, then you have made it harder for the man on the street to find God’s true and faithful people described in Revelation 12:17 and 14:12. Many of God’s people for these last days—the ones who are true and faithful and not just professors, are being threatened with legal action over the name “Seventh-day Adventist.” Of course, the devil is smart enough to confuse the issue by having some of his own agents who are breaking the law of God, because the devil is a liar and the spiritual father of all those who do the same.


Steps into Apostasy


A thumbnail sketch of how this deception (the same as in the Stanton controversy, but in a new dress) developed, would be as follows:

  1. As Ellen White conditionally predicted, the apostasy in Adventism would increase. (See Appendix #9.) It has done so very rapidly in the last 20 years. True and faithful Adventists first had to endure the snaking of liberal Adventism and the introduction of new theology (that you will sin until Jesus comes), the invalidation of Ellen White as a prophet (along with the New Testament), the denial of the investigative judgment beginning in 1844, and also a two apartment sanctuary in heaven, as well as the disregard of the health message. All of the reforms that God had slowly brought to His people over a period of centuries were invalidated with a stroke during the seventies and eighties.
  2. Next began the shaking in conservative Adventism. The battle cry of the conservatives in the eighties and the nineties is very similar to the attitude described in Desire of Ages concerning the Pharisees—the organization has become the lord of the people. “From childhood He [Jesus] acted independently of the rabbinical laws…the requirement of society and the requirement of God were in constant collision.” Desire of Ages, 84. Adventist pastors and many Adventists were asked to do things (or not do things) that were contrary to their conscience. In many places it was not allowed to put open sin out of the church. The apostasy became so marked that children in understanding of theology, could tell that their families were being leavened by false teachings and practices.
  3. Although it began earlier, in the eighties the ostracizing and disfellowshipping of true and faithful Adventists began in earnest. First there was an attempt to stop their influence by taking away their church offices and not allowing them to teach, etc. Then censure followed and finally disfellowshipping. The majority were so far in apostasy that the only way they could see to stop the division in the church was to get rid of the true and faithful—the real Adventists. We have received telephone call and letters from around the world giving evidence of this. However, after the people holding to the historic Adventist faith have been removed from the church, their very presence, the very existence of their home churches is evidence of the apostasy.
  4. Now we are seeing true and faithful Seventh day Adventist being told to stop calling themselves Adventist because they have been call forced out of the structure for not going along with the apostasy. The final aim and goal, if you can see the big picture the devil is attempting to paint, is to make it impossible for the people of the world to find the true and faithful Adventist. A “non Adventist ” told me recently about how he wanted someone to teach him what Bible truth was. He said , “It is as hard as finding an alley  in New York City to find the truth today.” Thank the Lord, he heard an ad on the radio and we are helping find the meaning of the prophecies . Now he is keeping the Sabbath. How many other people like this are there? The devil is determined today , just as much as in 1893, to obscure or obliterate any knowledge of the existence of the faithful Adventist who still have the same theology and faith of as our pioneers.
  5. There are many on the Lord’s side, just like the 7000 in the time of Elijah, who are not protesting the apostasy. Even though they are not part of it they cannot be seen. Therefore,  they are doing little if any good for the controversy over Zion. In Christ day, those who submitted to the Jewish leaders could avoid trouble, but eventually go along with crucifying Jesus Christ to do this.  We always tried to be submissive to conference authority until the time came when we could not do this with a clear conscience. this same experience is happening to the true and faithful all over the world. (For a few examples see Appendix #10) We are still in the shadow of the Stanton  controversy, but the clothing of the deception has become more  deceitful; there is no living prophet among us to stop it. Instead of two men there are thousands of employees within the Adventist structure to push the delusion to the limit.  Who knows but that the preachers who are faithful, firm and true may be the last who shall offer the gospel of peace to our unthankful churches?  It may be that the destroyers are already training under hand of Satan and only wait the departure of a few more standard bearer to take their places, and with the voice of the false prophet cry,  “Peace, Peace” when the Lord hath not spoken peace. I seldom weep, but now I find my eyes blinded with tears; they are falling upon my paper as I write.  It may be that erelong all prophesying among us will be at an end,  and the voice which has stirred the people may not longer disturb their carnal slumbers. “When God shall work His strange work on the earth,  when holy hands bear the ark no longer, woe will be among the people . . . the church is corrupt because of her members who defile their bodies and pollute their souls . . . Things are far from being what the appearance would indicate . . . the prevailing spirit of our time is that of infidelity and apostasy — a spirit of pretended illumination because of a knowledge of the truth, but in reality of the blindest  presumption. There is a spirit of opposition to the plain word of God and to the testimony of His spirit ” Testimonies vol 5, 77-79. May the Lord help us to come to the standard pf the Lord and manfully give the message  of warning. May the terrible deception that has taken hold of God’s professed people once again be unmasked before it is forever to late.


  1. “I desire that you may be acknowledged in the heavenly courts as true, faithful witnesses for Christ, faithful witnesses of the truth of the Third Angels’ Message.” Manuscript Releases, vol 12, 47. What does it mean to be faithful the Three Angels’ Messages? The truth of the Three Angels’ Messages, in Revelation 14:6-12, involves the following beliefs and practices: 1. Belief in the 2,300 day prophecy as explained by the second advent movement  in the 1840’s, and that the hour of God’s judgement began in 1844. 2. Worship of God as the Creator—belief in the Sabbath which involves belief in the biblical account of a 6000 year old earth and a seven day creation. 3. Coming out of Babylon—the philosophies and practices of Babylon will be put away and discontinued. 4. No Images will be made to the beast—all will be allowed religious liberty. 5. No creature worship. 6. obedience to the commandments of God. 7. There will be the faith of Jesus. which is the faith that gives deliverance and an overcoming power over all sin.
  2. Sometimes the truth is best understood by anti-thesis—stating what is not. In the following statement several specifications are given of those who are not true and faithful , thus giving a clear description of what the true and faithful are like. “There is a lack of moral and spiritual throughout our conferences. Many churches do not have light in themselves. The members do no give evidence that they are the branches of the True Vine, by bearing  much fruit to the glory of God, but appear to be withering away. The Redeemer has withdrawn his light, the inspiration of His Holy Spirit, from their assemblies; for they have ceased to represent the self-denial, the sympathy and compassionate love of the world’s Redeemer; they have not love for the souls for whom Christ has died. They have ceased to be true and faithful. It is a sad picture,—the feeble piety, the want of consecration and devotion to God. there has been a separation of the soul from God; many have cut off the communication between him and the soul by refusing his messengers and his message” Review and Herald, December 23, 1890.
  3. “At the last great day, Christ will say to those who have been true and faithful, (Matthew 5:34 quoted). They will understand the meaning of His words; for they will have done the work that Christ gave them to do. They have cooperated with Him in the saving of those got whom he died, and they are prepared to share in His joy” Review and Herald, October 29, 1903.
  4. “The test of discipleship is not brought to bear as closely as it should be upon those who present themselves for baptism. It should be understood whether those who profess to be converted are simply taking the name of Seventh-day Adventists, or whether they are taking their stand on the Lord’s side, to come out from the world, and be separate and touch not the unclean thing. When they give evidence that they fully understand their position, they are to be accepted. But when they show that they are following the customs and fashions and sentiments of the world, they are to be faithfully dealt with. If they feel no burden to change their course of action, they should not be retained as members of the church. The Lord wants those who compose his church to be true, faithful stewards of the grace of Christ.” Special Testimonies to the Battle Creek Church, 22
  5. “The Lord will give His message to those who have walked in accordance with the light they have had, and will recognize them as true and faithful, according to the measurement of God. These men will take the place of those who, having light and knowledge, have walked not in the way of the Lord but in the imagination of their own unsanctified hearts.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 13, 10
  6. God is not pleased with the slothful work done in the churches. He expects His stewards to be true and faithful in giving reproof and correction. They are to expel wrong after the rule God has given in His Word, not according to their own ideas and impulses. No harsh means must be used, no unfair, hasty, impulsive work done. The efforts made to cleanse the church from moral uncleanness must be made in God’s way. There must be no partiality, no hypocrisy. There must be no favorites, whose sins are regarded as less sinful than those of others. Oh, how much we all need the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Then we shall always work with the mind of Christ, with kindness, compassion, and sympathy, showing love for the sinner while hating sin with a perfect hatred.” 1888 Materials, 144.
  7. “It is by bearing a straightforward testimony in word and work, that we are counted as true, faithful witnesses for Christ.” Review and Herald, September 7, 1903
  8. The Great Controversy should be very widely circulated. It contains the story of the past, the present, and the future. In its outline of the closing scenes of this earth’s history, it bears a powerful testimony in behalf of the truth. I am more anxious to see a wide circulation for this book than for any others I have written; for in The Great Controversy, the last message of warning to the world is given more distinctly than in any of my other books.” Colporteur Ministry, 127. The Lord impressed me to write this book [The Great Controversy, in the 1884 edition it was called volume 4] in order that without delay it might be circulated in every part of the world, because the warnings it contains are necessary for preparing a people to stand in the day of the Lord. But men of trust have allowed this book to fall ‘dead’ from the press.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, 239.
  9. “One thing it is certain to be realized,–the great apostasy, which is developing and increasing and waxing stronger, and will continue to do so until the Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout. We are to hold fast the first principles of our denominated faith, and go forward from strength to increased faith. Ever are we to keep the faith that has been substantiated by the Holy Spirit of God from the earlier events of our experience until the present time. We need now larger breadth, and deeper, more earnest, unwavering faith in the leadings of the Holy Spirit. If we needed the manifest proof of the Holy Spirit’s power to confirm truth in the beginning, after the passing of the time, we need today all the evidence in the confirmation of the truth, when souls are departing from the faith and giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. There must not be any languishing of soul now.” Special Testimonies, Series B, 57.

Special Note: Notice in the above statement that it is the principles of faith that you hold fast to that makes you part of the denominated people or the denomination. The only people who are really part of the denomination are those who hold the historic faith of Seventh-day Adventists—those who believe in not only professing, but in actually keeping all of God’s commandments, living by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Ellen White explains who is denominational: “One stood up in the midst of us and pointed us back to the Israelites as an illustration of a distinct people, denominated of God. That which made them denominational was the observance of God’s commandments. In the twelfth to the eighteenth verses of the thirty-first chapter of Exodus their distinguishing sign is mentioned . . .We are Seventh-day Adventists. This is a fitting name, for we keep the seventh-day Sabbath, and look for the second advent of our Lord in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. Even with respect to the name indicating some of the peculiar points of faith distinguishing us from other Christians, we are denominational. In keeping the Sabbath that God declared should be kept holy as a sign between Himself and His people, we show to the world that we are His peculiar, chosen people-a people whom He has denominated. His people and His institutions are denominational . . . as for ourselves, we are strictly denominational. We are sacredly denominated by God, and are under His theocracy.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, 38-40.

  1. Mass disfellowshipping in Hungary and ostracizing of the faithful in Romania and many other parts of eastern Europe. The necessary separation of the true and faithful from the structure in Zaire, because the structure had joined an ecumenical movement. The disfellowshippping of true and faithful in Australia, and the necessary separation of the true and faithful from sin which leaders refused to repent, confess or make right in Guatemala. The necessary separation of the true and faithful from apostate leaders who were the only ones the General Conference would recognize in Russia and eastern Europe (this goes back several decades), and similar problems in the church in Ghana, in the Philippines. As well as disfellowshippings in various places in the United States and other places because individuals would not submit their conscience to the organization.

Part III