A DEVELOPING CONCEPT OF WORLD MISSION
There was a gradual awareness for both the Sabbatarian and Seventh-day Adventists of the need for a worldwide missionary program if they are to fulfill the terms of their message and mission. It would take thirty years from the 1844 Disappointment before the sending of their first overseas missionary to Europe in 1874. This thirty years can be divided between four important events connected with the Church's early history and gradual awareness of its mission: the Millerite Disappointment (1844), the commencement of the publication of the Church's first journal The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald (1850),1 the organization of the Sabbatarian Adventists into the Seventh-day Adventist Church (1863), and the appointment of the Church's first official overseas missionary (1874). Over these thirty years there was a constant pushing forward from Battle Creek and Michigan with the Church's message, and the resultant growing need for raising the financial means for these missionary enterprises in an ever expanding America. There appears to have been strong feelings that first and formost there should be a strengthening of the home base of the church, and a strong development of the church within the American continent before venturing men and means in the Old World or in any other nation of the world. Even when external and internal pressures and the providences of God indicated advancement outside the USA funds had to be raised and believers trained for such enterprises, with many a struggle against established attitudes. History reveals a truly complex yet interesting thirty years. During this period the membership of believers grew from a small group of individuals to perhaps as many as 15,000.
Working for Millerite Adventists 1844-1849
The concept of world mission among Millerite Adventists had been strongly determined by the interpretation of Matt. 24:14, and the belief that when their message had been preached in all nations the end of the world would take place. Consequently, the Disappointment of 1844 practically brought to a stop all missionary efforts of the Adventists. They had believed that their gospel message had been adequately proclaimed in the pre-1844 movement, and that it had been rejected. The Advent was still imminent as far as they were concerned, and they believed their energies should now be confined to strengthening those Christians who already believed it. These Adventists were further inhibited by the viewpoint commonly refered to as the "Shut Door" theory, the conviction that the door of God's mercy was shut in 1844 and probation for the world generally was closed.2
For a while these same beliefs were also to hinder the propagation of the message of the Sabbatarian Adventists among unbelievers in the Advent, and again because of these early beliefs there was little, if any, development in an understanding of mission. Whatever shut door concept was advocated by these Sabbatarian Adventists there were no significant results in converting non-Adventists during the period 1845-1850. Their time was devoted to persuading other Adventists not to deny the past Advent experience, but to accept the new understanding of the sanctuary and the Sabbath doctrines as an explanation of the Disappointment.3
The gradual change in shut door views among Sabbatarian Adventists must be attributed to the influence of White's views concerning the need for a successful future mission to the world. As well as her profound influence on the new theological interpretations she was also responsible for the emerging missionary consciousness. It has been felt by some that without her influence the early Sabbatarian Adventists would not have survived this period of turmoil, let alone have understood its mission to the world.4
Although White herself had believed in a shut door theory, and held the belief for a while following 1844,5 this was before her vision of 24 March 1849. However, with her "entirely new to me" view she was able to remove many theological objections by placing the shut door concept in the perspective of the change of Christ's ministry in 1844. Using Rev. 3:7,8 she stated that Jesus had shut the door in the Holy Place but opened a door into the Most Holy Place,6 and was thereby able to inaugurate a gradual development away from the shut door of Matt. 25:10.
Although it is possible to see how the shut door views had virtually paralysed the missionary activities of the Sabbatarian Adventists during this period James White was able to see a Divine purpose in it all. For him the period was "the scattering time" of Ezk. 34:36, with the Adventist flock scattered because of opposing "present truth."7
These early years can be described as a time of intensive search for a new interpretation of the events associated with the termination of the time calculations of the Millerites. Only when the search had been achieved around 1848 could the mission of the Sabbatarian Adventists be in any way successful. James White believed that the time up to the spring of 1848 was in fact well spent in establishing Biblical teachings and from that time "the work of uniting the brethren on the great truths connected with the message of the third angel commenced."8 Although by 1849 Sabbatarian Adventists only numbered "about one hundred,"9 they had indeed established the basis of their message, and were beginning to recognize something of their mission.
Early after the Disappointment White had described the new beliefs of the Sabbatarian Adventists as intended for the whole world. As early as December 1844 she described a vision she had received and spoke of the great task God wanted done before Christ's return. She saw this work as "jets of light like stars" growing in number and brightness, "shining forth from the east and from the west, and from the north and from the south, and lighting the whole world." This light came from Jesus Christ and stood for those who had faith and obeyed the Word, especially that of the third angel's message.10 In 1848 she observed the seventh-day Sabbath message shining "like streams of light that went clear round the world."11 James White himself was convinced the Sabbath belief would "ring through the land, as the advent never has,"12 and Bates predicted enthusiastically that the Sabbath doctrine would spread to France, Britain, Russia, and the Middle East,13 but there was no apparent thought given as to how this would be achieved or what part each would play in it.
Mission to Non-Millerites 1850-1863
It was not, however, until about 1850 that new mission efforts began to have success as beliefs were promoted and accepted more fully. Growth in mission interest and in members coincided with the commencment and spread of the Sabbatarian's first independent journal, The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, being published and circulated. White also continued to repeatedly urge Sabbatarian Adventists towards a larger concept of mission once the discussions and debates of the late 40's were concluded.
Soon memory of the disappointment faded and non-Millerites themselves began showing an interest in the Sabbatarian Adventists. In l850 people were "coming in from all around,"14 and by 1852 such people constituted the larger portion of the converts. Further developments in sanctuary theology removed all theological objections against missionary activity, and the objective now was "to recover the remnant" of God's people.15 White began to encourage mission expansion among the few believers. She expressed her desire that all would "let the truth come out everywhere we go."16 James White encouragingly stated that even non-Adventist clergymen were "striving for heaven," and should be encouraged to find the truth,17 and J. B. Frisbie observed in 1854 that "many of God's dear children are in Babylon,"18 while Roswell F. Cottrell encouraged members to missionary work, "to enlighten" the "many honest souls united and uniting with the fallen, corrupt and corrupting churches of the present day." He was convinced that if they once heard the truth "they will obey the voice from heaven, Come out of her my people."19
Evangelistic tents were used in the proclaiming of the message in one state after another, from Maine to Minnesota. Hundreds and thousands crowded in to hear the message during the 1850's. However, many felt that they were hardly meeting Christ's gospel commission to carry the good news to all the world, and White continued to help them understand that the three angels' messages were intended for "a guilty world."20 They consequently concluded that to preach to English-speaking North Americans was no longer enough. In 1855 Bates encouraged his fellow believers to send literature to "some of the foreign missionary stations"21 and the following year James White indicated that a missionary spirit "should be cherished by those who profess the Message." Such a spirit was needed to "raise the cry more extensively in new fields, and sound the alarm throughout Christendom."22 In 1848 there were reports of the Sabbatarian Adventist beliefs being preached in Norway,23 and in France in 185724 but no confirmation of these reports has been found.
However, some felt that the start should be made in North America with those whose mother tongue was not English. In 1857 Cottrell preached through an interpreter to Seneca Indians,25 and Augustine Cornelius and Daniel T. Bourdeau, both bilingual French Canadians, began to evangelize the French-speaking peoples of Vermont. John Fisher, a former Baptist minister, translated a tract into Dutch for the immigrants of Holland, Michigan. By 1861 mission work was being carried on among the French, Polish, Italian, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and German immigrants in the USA. This work was seen as work "in foreign nations."26 For years these immigrants had been calling for publications in their own languages, and in 1858 James White reported that Sabbatarian Adventists in the USA with a tongue other than that of English were requesting "to see publications on the present truth printed in their native languages, to circulate in America and in Europe."27 Already in 1855 there had been some preparations to publish in Swedish.28 Now, in order to reach the immigrants, publications were prepared between 1856 and 1858 in German, French, and Dutch.29
As European immigrants began to accept the beliefs of the Sabbatarian Adventists it seemed to some that if the second coming was indeed still imminent, the gospel to the world concept might find fulfillment within North America.30 However, Sabbatarian Adventists had now begun to see the Disappointment of 1844 as fulfilling Rev. 10:8-11 with the understanding that they "must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings." Therefore, when in 1859 a Review reader enquired of Smith: "Is the third angel's message being given, or to be given, in the United States?" Smith saw Rev. 10:11 as maybe having fulfillment in the USA because the Sabbatarian Adventist third angel's message was "co-extensive" with that of the Millerite first angel. Smith believed that it "might not perhaps be necessary" to proclaim the message "in any country beside our own . . . since our land is composed of people from almost every nation."31
However, some, like Joseph Clarke an Ohio school teacher, did not have such a narrow view of world mission, and were anxious to have the Church see itself as truly a world-wide organization. Clarke warned that "the work should not be sectionalized," because "Ireland is as near as Ohio, and Russia is as dear as Iowa."32
As early as 29 August 1858 a minister named Michael Belina Czechowski (1818-1876) had written White expressing a desire to "visit my own native country across the big waters, and tell them all about Jesus' coming, and the glorious restitution, and how they must keep the Commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus."33 Czechowski, himself a European and a former Polish Roman Catholic priest, had fled his native land and traveled throughout Europe before coming to America.34 After attending a French Baptist school in Canada, and working with the French-speaking people in the United States he made a decision to go west. He found himself attending Sabbatarian Adventist tent meetings in Ohio where he became a Sabbatarian Adventist in 1857. Consequently, he worked as a preacher in association with A. C. Bourdeau in Canada, northern New York, and Vermont. His wishes were not met at this time, perhaps due to his recent conversion, and a lack of interest by the small membership in 1858.35
It would seem that in the l850's the available evangelizing Sabbatarian Adventist ministers were unable to meet even the demands in the homeland. They were overworked, underpaid, and inadequately led. They were hardly prepared to serve overseas until the home base was organized and had pledged itself in support. Consequently the vision of world mission asserted itself only little by little, and as they believed, by the providential workings of God. However, the Sabbatarian Adventists had grown from a membership of 100 in 1859 to about 3,500, or possibly as many as 12,000, by the time of their organization in 1863.36
Eyes on the World 1863-1874
When in 1863 the Sabbatarian Adventists organized themselves into the Seventh-day Adventist Church they adopted a short General Conference constitution which required the three-man executive committee to act as a "missionary board," charged to select personnel and locations for missionary endeavor. James White, as editor of the Review, immediately informed believers that the General Conference Executive Committee planned to send B. F. Snook as a missionary to Europe, and might send him "before the close of 1863." However, first concerns were for the missionary fields of the fast developing American continent, so action was taken to send Isaac Sanborn "as a missionary to Minnesota."37 He was to be one of many "missionaries." The term had been used by Sabbatarian Adventists as reference to evangelists entering new, unentered fields of labor as early as 1853 when John N. Loughborough and Merritt E. Cornell had been sent on a "mission" to the prairie peoples of Wisconsin and Illinois.38 When Loughborough and Daniel Bourdeau volunteered at the 1868 General Conference to conduct evangelism in California they went as "missionaries." Sailing from New York to San Francisco, by way of the Atlantic and the land crossing of Panama to the Pacific, they logged more than 6,000 miles,39 much further than Loughborough would travel later in 1878 to reach his new field of labor in England.
It must again be observed that the general impression of the leadership's emphasis is still that the "principle theater of the third angel's message, the final message of mercy . . . seems to be in our own country,"40 yet, enthusiastic lay believers were unknowingly forcing the issue of overseas missions to the Old World. They were very much aware that the printed page could go where they could not, and it was only natural that those who received the message should want to share it with friends and relatives in their former homeland. Consequently the newly formed missionary board began publishing news of the Church's work in foreign countries, small though it was, and the leaders began talking of the world-wide extent of their mission.
James White first used the term "worldwide" applying it to the Seventh-day Adventist's mission,41 and B. F. Snook indicated that the Great Commission of Jesus Christ to go into all the world and preach to every creature was still valid, and suggested for the first time that the church was indeed "a misssionary society."42 John Gottlieb Matteson (1835-1896)43 expressed his hope that the third angel's message could indeed be carried "to the ends of the earth."44 In 1863 literature was officially sent to Australia.45
Early in 1864 two Christian missionaries, Hannah More, an American, and Alexander Dickson, an Australian, indicated that they had become "whole hearted Seventh-day Adventists" through the reading of Seventh-day Adventist literature while serving as missionaries in Africa.46 More had briefly met Haskell in 1862, and when she left for Africa in 1863 she made a request for the Church to send literature and a missionary.47 More and Dickson appear to have remained in Africa unofficially representing the Seventh-day Adventist Church, perhaps as the first self-supporting missionaries of the church. Through More's influence, literature was sent to "every missionary station on [the] African shore" and to William Muller at The Orphan Asylum, Bristol, England. Unfortunately, due to sickness, More returned home to America for treatment at Battle Creek with the intention of continuing her work on recovery. However, she died in 1868 and another missionary opportunity was aborted.48 Dickson returned to Australia with Seventh-day Adventist publications.49
Perhaps aware of the Church's desire to send a missionary to Europe Czechowski again offered his services, with a strong desire to carry the message to Europe, especially to the descendants of the Waldensians of Italy. Czechowski asked Loughborough, who was visiting him in New York during January 1864, to speak on his behalf with the General Conference leadership, that he be sent as a missionary. He told Loughborough that he wanted to "go to Rome, and declare the third angel's message in the hearing of the pope." Loughborough later explained: "I told him I could not do it, for our people were not strong financially to open such a foreign mission."50 His request was turned down. Lack of finances was the official reason given but there was also serious concern over his poor judgment, his unwillingness to take counsel, his lack of devotion to the message, and his volatile temperament.51 Loughborough openly admitted much later: "I did not tell him what was the greatest objection in my mind - that he was too rash moving to open such a mission."52 However, it would seem that the Church leaders had hoped eventually he would develop into a worthwhile manager and could be sent some time in the future.53 In the meanwhile White also advised Czechowski not to "mark out a course" for himself but wait the decisions of the Church.54
Unwilling to be thwarted in his desired mission Czechowski went to Boston where he persuaded the leaders of the Advent Christian denomination to sponsor his mission to Italy, which they did through their church paper. On 14 May l864 Czechowski sailed for Europe.55 For over a year Czechowski preached in the Piedmont valleys until opposition from Catholics and Protestants caused him to move to Switzerland in September 1865. His preaching focused on the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, and he taught the seventh-day Sabbath and the imminent return of Jesus Christ. He prepared tracts both in French and German and promoted his views by means of a paper, L'Evangile Eternel.56 In the Swiss vi1lage of Trammelan he organized a congregation of some sixty members, but it would seem he never revealed to them the existance of either the Advent Christians who sponsored him or of the Seventh-day Adventists whose doctrines he taught. Certainly it would appear that the Seventh-day Adventists took little if any official interest in his activities after he left America.
Later, on hearing of contacts made between his congregation and the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Czechowski settled in Romania where he continued to proclaim his beliefs, and died of "exhaustion" on 23 February 1876 in Vienna, at the age of fifty-seven. Czechowski's unofficial and somewhat questionable behavior was the means of introducing Seventh-day Adventist beliefs into Italy and Switzerlaad, and at a later date into Romania. The work of Czechowski in Switzerland resulted in the first Seventh-day Adventist church in Europe.
The More and Czechoswki incidents may be seen to indicate an absence of interest in overseas missions, and in peoples of other nations and religions57 among early Seventh-day Adventist leadership and believers. However, the actions seem due more to lack of workers, when "no man could be spared," and a desire to choose the right man than to lack of interest or caring.58
Growing requests for literature coming from many countries had led to the use of the term "worldwide" as designating the neccessary extent of the missionary task, for by June 1869 they were receiving "almost daily applications to send publications to other lands."59
In 1869 a number of ladies in South Lancaster, Massachusetts, encouraged by Stephen Nelson Haskell (1833-1922) and his wife Mary How, organized themselves into the first Vigilant Missionary Society.60 Haskell had begun preaching in 1853 for the non-Sabbatarian Adventists of New England but later that year began observing the Sabbath. He was ordained a minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1870, and became president of the New England Conference that same year. The Society ladies, beside calling on their neighbors and helping the sick and needy, mailed thousands of tracts and papers to people in North America and to countries overseas. Their records show that they wrote many letters. The next year, 1870, Haskell organized the New England Tract and Missionary Society with local groups all over New England.61 In many cases the early converts to the Church's beliefs in foreign lands were first convicted of the message by the efforts of lay missionaries of the Tract and Missionary societies, often years before the arrival of a missionary.
Focusing on the Old World
Eventually the initial timing to send a missionary to Europe was taken out of the hands of the church as an organization. The discovery by Albert Vuilleumier (1835-1923), a member of the Trammelan, Swiss congregation, of a copy of the Review left in a room by Czechowski was enough to help them realize that a religious organization existed in America that held the same views they did. A correspondence began with the Review editors which revealed about 50 Sabbatarian Adventists in Switzerland and Italy.62
In 1869 the Seventh-day Adventists invited a Swiss representative to attend their General Conference. The Swiss sent James H. Erzberger (1843-1920), a young theological student "to instruct more perfectly," James White told the membership, "and return to them prepared to help in the work."63 Erzberger remained in America a little more than a year to become fully grounded in Seventh-day Adventist beliefs, and then returned to Switzerland in the autumn of 1870 as the first ordained minister recognized by the Seventh-day Adventists to extend their mission outside America. At the same time the Church acknowledged Czechowski's mission to Europe as "the hand of God in the establishment of a body of S. D. Adventists in Central Europe."64
It was at the 1869 General Conference meetings that the subject of "missions to foreign lands, and distant portions of our own," was considered by the delegates. They accepted "with joy" the knowledge of "the present-truth going to the nations and tongues of the earth"65 and they voted to form the Missionary Society of the Seventh-day Adventists under the presidency of James White, with Uriah Smith as secretary. The object of the society was to send the third angel's message by means of "missionaries, papers, books, tracts, etc." Membership was open to "any person who keeps the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" on payment of five dollars "initiation fees." Appeals for donations were to be made to "friends of the cause" who would give "according to their means, and the benevolence of their hearts." At the preliminary meeting of the Society, held in connection with the Annual Conference, the sum of $1003.85 was promptly subscribed in membership fees and donations.66
Writing to the membership in the same issue of the Review that carried the news of the Society James White appealed:
Brethren do not let this matter rest upon your hands, but do your duty . . . Means are wanted! Other lands are reaching out their hands to us for help. Means must and will come necessary to the accomplishment of this missionary work. Let all respond promptly, and let the good work move on.67
By the end of the year it was obvious that the means for supporting the unplanned work in Europe was greatly needed if advances were to be made. A sum of $2000 had been sent "to relieve the cause in Europe from embarrassment, and to forward the work there," with the expectation that friends of the cause would immediately respond, but the donations were slow coming in and the General Conference was even finding itself "in pressing need of the money to help in other branches of the cause."68 Certainly a missionary society with its own financial structure was much needed and a beginning had been made. However, early in 1870 James White was forced to admit that "our people very slowly respond to the cal1 for means to help the cause in Switzerland. In this hesitancy on their part we have been disappointed."69
One month later $1,548 had been donated and they were still "in pressing need of money."70 The Swiss were unable to help themselves and as late as 1873 Andrews was assisting the "dear brethren in Switzerland," who were suffering from employment difficulties because of Sabbath observance, by selling their Swiss watches through the Review.71
James White saw three reasons for this slow financial response to support foreign, overseas missions:
1. Money is scarce, and many who would be glad to help, have it not to spare.
2. Most of these brethren who have ready cash, have either never seen their duty to help the cause in all its departments, or have so far apostatised as to lose the spirit of sacrifice.
3. In the minds of many there is some doubt hanging over the matter. There are those who are ready to hand out money to circulate the publications in our own country, and to help the cause in our own land; but to risk their money to help the cause in Europe does not look so clear.72
It would appear that as well as a scarcity of means there were also strong feelings, especially among the foreign immigrants, that the home field missions might be neglected in favor of foreign work overseas. At the eighth annual session of the General Conference in March 1870 the Committee on Resolutions, no doubt recognizing these negative feelings resolved:
That while our sympathies are drawn out toward our brethren in other lands, we are not forgetful of the interests of those in our own land, who are of foreign birth, and speak other languages. Their devotion to the truth has won our warmest regard, and we pledge to them all the aid and encouragement that our ability and circumstances will permit. In this direction we will do all that lies in our power to publish works in their respective languages to correspond as nearly as possible in price with similar works in English.73
The leadership promptly recommended twelve tracts in several languages, especially for the immigrants in America.74 Also a plan of world mission, intended to reach a "foreign born population of this land [USA]," was devised, believing that it would be a most efficient means of reaching other lands.75 James White considered the church to be "several years behind the opening providence of God" in this work.76
White also added her concerns for the advancement of the publishing work as a means of advancing the work outside America:
Our publications should be printed in other languages, that foreign nations may be reached. Much can be done through the medium of the press.77
She saw also a need of preparing workers for this kind of advancement. ï¿½The year following Erzberger's return to Switzerland White was "shown," 10 December 1871, a need for more seriousness in this area of overseas missions, and in the preparation of foreign publications. She encouraged especially young men and women:
Young men should be qualifying themselves by becoming familiar with other languages, that God may use them as mediums to communicate His saving truth to those of other nations. These young men may obtain a knowledge of other languages even while engaged in laboring for sinners. If they are economical of their time, they can be improving their minds and qualifying themselves for more extended usefulness. If young women who have borne but little responsibility would devote themselves to God, they could qualify themselves for usefulness by studying and becoming familiar with other languages they could devote themselves to the work of translating.78
Important though the foreign publications were White also saw a need for overseas missionaries:
. . . still more can be accomplished if the influence of the labors of the living preachers goes with our publications. Missionaries are needed to go to other nations to preach the truth in a guarded careful manner. The cause of present truth can be greatly extended by personal effort.79
Above all, White believed financial giving was the key to any advancement, it being an avenue that all could use to extend the church's message:
Every opportunity should be improved to extend the truth to other nations. This will be attended with considerable expense, but expense should in no way hinder the performance of this work. Means are of value only as they are used to advance the interest of the kingdom of God. The Lord has lent men means for this very purpose, to use in sending the truth to their fellow men.80
But the demand for workers among the immigrants was growing. Haskell reported a crying need for qualified workers for the non English-speaking population of the USA, to answer the requests from "the Danes, Swedes, Norwegians, French, and Germans of our own land." A letter from Europe spoke of "openings in France, Spain, Italy, and in other parts of the Eastern continent."81 In order to meet the demands worldwide the decision was made to establish a training school at Battle Creek, Michigan.82
Meanwhile work in Switzerland advanced and was reported regularly by Erzberger. At the end of 1871 there were forty three members with a further 19 observing the Sabbath.83 The Review now published regular news of the Swiss Mission, and Ademar Vuilleumier, Erzberger's cousin, came and attended school in Battle Creek, and returned to assist in the Swiss Mission. At the l873 General Conference meetings the needs of Switzerland were again discussed, but still they held back on sending an official USA ministeria1 representative, despite James White's appeal: "It seems that the providence of God is far in advance of us," that "the fields are all white and ready for harvest," and that the Swiss brethren "have been calling, and are still calling for help." However, he emphasised that one man to Switzerland would not be enough for Europe and that we must send "men." He made a suggestion that Andrews should be freed to accompany Vuilleumier to Europe "this fall," and that nearly $2000 was in hand in the European Mission Fund from which the expenses of a missionary could be paid.84 But still other considerations were taking first place because they would strengthen the home base, and things moved slowly. On 16 March l874 the church incorporated its Seventh-day Adventist Educational Society in readiness for the founding, during the next year, of its first institution of higher learning. On 4 June 1874 the Signs of the Times was launched in California, preparing the way for the founding of the Pacific Press in 1875, to be the second publishing house in North America. Perhaps the leadership and the membership, together, saw a need to consolidate the present objectives of the church. Certainly there appears to have been a considerable lack of means, and at the least, even now, a hesitation in moving forward into a mission program worldwide.
The Need for Persuasion
On 1 April 1874, while visiting in California, White had another dream. She had, she said, seen several of the leaders of the church considering plans of work, and as a result she again emphasised the need of broader planning that would embrace the world:
One of dignity and authority - one who is present in all our council meetings, - was listening with deepest interest to every word. He spoke with deliberation and perfect assurance. "The whole world," he said, "is God's great vineyard" . . .
Christ in His labors took His position by the lakeside and in the great thoroughfares of travel where He could meet people from all parts of the world. He was giving the true light; He was sowing the gospel seed; He was rescuing truth from its companionship with error, and presenting it in its original simplicity and clearness, so that men could comprehend it.
The heavenly Messenger who was with us said: "Never lose sight of the fact that the message you are bearing is a world-wide message. It is to be given to all cities, to all villages; it is to be proclaimed in the high ways and the byways. You are not to localize the proclamation of the message." . . .
The Messenger turned to one present and said: "Your ideas of the work for this time are altogether too limited. Your light must not be confined to a small compass, put under a bushel, or under a bed; it must be placed on a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in God's house - the world. You must take broader views of the work than you have taken."85
Outlining the dream in another place she wrote:
The ideas of our brethren are altogether too narrow. They expect but little. Their faith is too small . . . We see things nigh, but not afar off.86
White personally envisaged the message of the church Being proclaimed outside the USA:
The message will go in power to all parts of the world, to Oregan, to Europe, to Australia, to the islands of the sea, to all nations, tongues and people . . . many countries are waiting for the advanced light the Lord has for them.87
She was certainly among those few who believed that the present plans of the young church were too confined and lacking in vision and was anxious that the young church not confine its message to America alone:
You are entertaining too limited ideas of the work for this time. You are trying to plan the work so that you can embrace it in your arms. You must take broader views. . . Your house is the world.88
White saw a number of reasons for this lack of mission vision. She saw clearly the problems as presented by both leaders and laity, and observed a failure to recognize "the short time in which we have to work" and "the magnitude of the work for the time." She saw God opening up ways for them to be able to carry out their mission, but they were being slow to take advantage of these:
We are not keeping pace with the opening providence of God. Jesus and angels are at work. This cause is onward, while we are standing still and being left in the rear. If we would follow the opening providence of God, we should be quick to discern every opening, and make the most of every advantage within our reach, to let the light extend and spread to other nations.89
She also believed that God had actually sent men who could do a work for other nations, but they had been rejected as if they were not God's men:
God, in His providence, has sent men to our very doors, and thrust them, as it were, into our arms, that they might learn the truth more perfectly, and be qualified to do a work we could not do in getting the light before men of other tongues. We have too often failed to discern God's hand, and we have not received the very ones God had provided for us to work in union with, and act a part in sending the light to other nations.90
There seems also to have been a general apathy among the believers, a slothful neglect and a criminal unbelief "that had kept them from doing the work God had left them to do for other nations. At least some were over fearful that donated monies would be spent with none of the expected results:
There is a fearfulness to venture out and to run risks in this great work, fearing that the expenditure of means would not bring returns. What if means are used and yet we cannot see that souls have been saved by it? What if there is a dead loss of a portion of our means? Better work and keep at work than to do nothing. You know not which shall prosper, this or that.91
White also had another major concern for the advancement of the cause in foreign lands, a lack of volunteers who trusted God:
God will have men who will venture anything and everything to save souls. Those who will not move until they can see every step of the way clearly before them, will not be of advantage at this time to forward the truth of God. There must be workers now who will push ahead in the dark as well as in the light, and who will hold up bravely under discouragements and disappointed hopes, and yet work on with faith, with tears and patient hope, sowing beside all waters, trusting the Lord to bring the increase. God calls for men of nerve, of hope, faith, and endurance, to work to the point.92
All these problems appeared to result in a withholding of personal means from the mission of the Church, and White appeals:
What is the value of money at this time, in comparison with the value of souls? Every dollar of our means should be considered as the Lord's, not ours; and as a precious trust from God to us; not to be wasted for needless indulgences but carefully used in the cause of God, in the work of saving men and women from ruin.93
At least for the Whites, and for Andrews, the time had come to act, and for want of an official decision James White arranged for Andrews to leave for Europe privately, and informally, However, four months later, in August 1874, a joint campmeeting and General Conference session was held. Writing in the Review concerning his feelings at the time James White explained that "never were we so fully impressed with the fact that the responsibilities of a world-wide mission were pressing upon our people, as during the religious services and the business sessions at the recent Michigan Campmeeting."94 George I. Butler, president of the General Conference that year, recommended the Conference to take some action in the matter, "especially in consideration that Elder J. N. Andrews is about to take his departure to engage in the cause in Switzerland."95
On 14 August the church in General Conference session voted officially to move into world-wide missions. They gave response to the desires of the Swiss, and accepted the beliefs of the Whites, when the committee "resolved, that the General Conference . . . instruct the Executive Committee to send Eld. J. N. Andrews to Switzerland as soon as practicable."96
On 15 September 1874, one month after the official action to send him to Europe, Andrews sailed from Boston aboard the Cunard liner, Atlas. With him went his daughter Mary, aged 12, and his son Charles, aged 17, and Vuillemier, to be his interpreter. Andrews had been widowed two years earlier. Anyone but Andrews would probably have refused to go, certainly in such circumstances, but Andrews had already shown genuine interest in the Swiss believers. He had been president of the General Conference when the Swiss Sabbatarian Adventists first appealed for help, 1867-1869. He gave Erzberger his course in Adventist theology while he stayed in the Andrews home in Rochester, New York in 1870.97 It had been Andrews who raised the question of a missionary for Switzerland at the General Conference of 1870.98 He also interested himself in a practical way in the economic plight of the Swiss Sabbathkeepers.99 If there was one person more familiar than anyone else with the Swiss situation it was Andrews,100 and he was consequently suggested as a missionary to Europe long before the official decision was taken.101
It was recognized that American Adventists sent their European brethren "one of its oldest and most respected laborours."102 Andrews' scholarly and linguistic abilities, his long experience in the church, gave credance to this statement.
By now the Church had grown to "about 7500" members, found in 291 churches, with "a large proportion" unable to belong to an official congregation due to their scattered condition. In fact, Smith estimated a true membership of between 12,000 and 15,000 members in all.103 ï¿½The Church was also attempting to manage two publishing houses, the second having now been established on the west coast; a medical institution; a college to supply a growing demand for workers; and funds for a rapidly expanding work in America. However, Seventh-day Adventism had officially launched into overseas missions, and had made the first step in becoming an international church.
1Between July 1849 and November 1850 the Sabbatarians published 11 issues of a little paper, The Present Truth, and between May and August 1850 they published The Advent Review. These were discontinued with the publication of Second Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, which with vol.2, 2 August 1851, became The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald. See SDAE, art., "Review and Herald."
2SDAE, art., "Open and Shut Door;" Damsteegt, SDAMM, covers the belief quite extensively. The Ellen G. White Estate issued a 62 page duplicated pamphlet, "Ellen G. White and the Shut Door Question," 10 November 1971; Nichol, in Ellen G. White and Her Critics: An Answer to the Major Charges that Critics Have Brought Against Mrs. Ellen G. White, (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1951) pp.161-252 also discusses the issue.
3Damsteegt, SDAMM, p.164.
7James White, "Repairing the Breach in the Law of God," Present Truth, (Middletown, Conn.: September, 1849), p.28.
9James White, "The Cause," RH, 23 July 1857, p.93.
12James White, to [J.C.Bowles, 8 November 1849.
13Joseph Bates, A Seal of the Living God. A Hundred Forty-Four Thousand of the Servants of God being Sealed in 1849, (New Bedford, Mass.: By the Author, 1849.), pp.4,35,40,45.
14White to ---, Letter 4, 1850.
16White to "Brother and Sister Hastings," Letter 18, 11 January 1850.
17The Signs of the Times, Showing That the Second Coming of Christ Is at the Doors. Spiritual Manifestations, a Foretold Sign that the Day of God's Wrath Hasteth Greatly, (Rochester, N.Y.: Review Office, 1852), p.95.
18"Church Order," RH, 26 December 1854, p.147.
19"The Present ï¿½Revivals' in Babylon," RH, 13 May 1858, p.206.
20White, "To the Saints Scattered Abroad," RH, 17 February 1853, p.155.
21Bates to ---, "Letter from Brother Bates," RH, 29 May 1855, p.240.
22James White, "The Third Angel's Message," RH, 4 September 1856, p.141.
23Francis C. Johnson to U. Smith, RH, 17 March 1850, p.134, cf John G. Matteson, "The Scandinavian Mission," HS, p.57.
24A. C. Bourdeau, "The French Baptists," RH, 5 February 1857, p.108, cf "The Third Angel's Message in France," 26 March 1857, p.166.
25Cottrell, "The Cause in Western New York," RH, 12 February 1857, p.117; "Sermons Preached to the Seneca Indians, To Be Delivered Through an Interpreter, No 2," 10 June 1858, pp.28,29.
26See M. B. Czechowski, "The N.Y. Mission," RH, 4 September 1860, p.125; "Vermont State Conference Report," 2 November 1869, p.150 concerning the French work in Vermont and Canada.
27"Publications in Other Languages," RH, 6 May 1858, p.200, cf M. B. Czechowski to Ellen G. White, 23 September 1858, p.144; James White, "Third Angel's Message," p.141.
28Gustaf Mellberg to James White, RH, 20 February 1855, p.183.
29James White, "Note on the German Tract," RH, 28 January 1858, p.96; "Publications in Other Languages," 6 May 1858, p.200; "From the Field," 8 July 1858, p.64; Smith, "Business Items," 25 March 1858, p.152.
30A. S. Hutchins, "The Field is the World," RH, 26 March 1857, p.168; Smith, "The Conference," RH, 27 May 1858, p.13.
31"Reply to A. H. Lewis," RH, 3 February 1859, p.87; "The Conference," RH, 27 May 1858, p.13.
32J. Clarke to Review, "Extracts from Letters," RH, 16 October 1860, p.175.
33"The French Mission," RH, 23 September 1858, p.144.
34M. B. Czechowski, Thrilling and Instructive Developments: An Experience of Fifteen Years a Roman Catholic Clergyman and Priest, (Boston: Published for the Author, 1862.)
35Rajmund Ladyslaw Dabrowski, "M. B. Czechowski. First Adventist Missionary to Europe," Andrews University Seminar Paper, 1972. Hereafter "FAM." This paper provides a convenient collection of Seventh-day Adventist published sources on Czechowski, and has since formed the basis for R. L. Dabrowski and B. B. Beach, eds., Michael Belina Czechowski. 1818-1876, (Warsaw, Poland: Znaki Czasu Publishing House, 1979.) See also SDAE, art., "Czechowski, Michael Belina."
36James White reported 1000 paying Review subscribers in 1854-55 and 2000 in 1858, Present Truth, p.78. Andrews estimated that there were 10,000 believers in 1859, and 12,000 in 1862, HOTS, 1859, p.90; ibid., 1862, p.340.
37"Report of the Executive Committee," RH, 26 May 1863, p.206; "God's Free-men," 2 June 1863, p.8.
38"Western Tour," RH, 23 June 1853, p.21.
39Loughborough, Pacific Union Recorder, (Mountain View Calif.: Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists), 30 October 1913, p.1. Hereafter PUR.
40General Conference Committee, "The Time Has Come!" RH, 21 February 1865, p.100.
41"The Light of the World," RH, 21 April 1863, p.165.
42"The Great Missionary Society," RH, 7 July 1863, p.46, cf Cottrell, "Proclytism," 3 July 1866, p.36; "The Gospel is Free," 20 January 1874, p.45.
43Matteson was born in Denmark. In 1954 he immigrated to the USA where he studied at Baptist Theological Seminary in Chicago and was ordained in 1862. In 1863 he became an SDA and served the Scandinavians in Europe and in the USA, being sent as a missionary to Europe in 1877, see SDAE, art., "Matteson, John Gottlieb."
44Matteson to James White, RH, 10 November 1863, p.191.
45James White, "Books Sent by Mail," RH, 1 September 1863, p.112.
46Hannah More, "The Sabbath in Africa," RH, 29 March 1864, p.142.
47Haskell, "Books Sent by Mail," RH, 22 August, 26 September 1863, pp.96,136; More to ---, "Letter from Africa," 11 October 1864, p.155.
48White stated that her death was due to a lack of concern and hospitality among SDAs in Battle Creek, see TC, 1:666-80; 2:140-45; SDAE, art., "More, Hannah."
49Haskell, "Tract and Missionary Work," RH, 17 December 1872, p.8; "Books Sent by Mail," 5 July 1864, p.48.
50Loughborough, PUR, 20 June 1912, pp.1,2.
51Andrews, "The Case of Eld. M. B. Czechowski," RH, 8 July 1873, p.29; White to Czechowski, Letter 3, 3 January 1864.
52PUR, 20 June 1912, p.1.
53Andrews, "The Case of Eld. M. B. Czechowski," RH, 8 July 1873, p.29; James White, "Cause in Switzerland," 11 January 1870, pp.21,22.
54Letter 3, 3 January 1864.
55With Czechowski went his wife and an Advent Christian worker, Annie Butler, sister of George Butler a Seventh-day Adventist leader and a future General Conference president.
56Dabrowski, "FAM," p.43-64; SDAE, art., "Czechowski, Michael, Belina."
57Damsteegt, SDAMM, p.287; SDAE, art., "More, Hannah,"
58Andrews to Brethren [in Switzerland], (Silver Spring, Md.: Archives of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists), 2 April 1869.
59James White, "Seventh-day Adventist Missionary Society," RH, 15 June 1869, p.197.
60See SDAE, art., "Tract and Missionary Society."
61Ella M. Robinson, S. N. Haskell. Man of Action, (Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1967), pp.24-29; SDAE, art, "Haskell, Stephen Nelson."
62SDAE, art., "Switzerland."
63"Seventh-day Adventist Missionary Society," RH, 15 June 1869, p.197. It is worthy of note that Erzberger created a stir when, after only five weeks of intensive English lessons, he was able to move an Ohio campmeeting to tears in an appeal for Switzerland. The believers gave an offering of $76. In later years this offering was claimed as the first foreign mission offering ever given by the denomination. See William C. White, "The Message Crosses the Seas," RH, 12 August 1937, pp.4,5; SDAE, art., "Erzberger, James H."
64"General Conference Report," RH, 22 March 1870, p.109, cf James White, "Switzerland," p.22; "General Conference Report," 2 January 1872, p.20.
65"General Conference Report," RH, 25 May 1869, p.173.
66Uriah Smith to James White, "Missionary Society," RH, 15 June 1869, p.197.
67"Seventh-day Adventist Missionary Society," RH, 15 June 1869, p.197.
68James White, "European Mission," RH, 28 December l869, p.14.
69"The Cause in Switzerland," RH, 11 January 1870, pp.21,22.
70James White, "European Mission," RH, 8 February 1870, p.56.
71Andrews, "The Swiss Watches," RH, 14 January 1873, p.40.
72"Cause in Switzerland," RH, 11 January 1870, pp.21,22.
73General Conference Committee, "Business Proceedings - Switzerland," RH, 22 March 1870, p.109.
74Publishing Assn. Committee, "Works in Other Languages," RH, 4 October 1870, p.125; James White, "Publications," p.173.
76"Publications," p.173, cf White, TC 3:192,205,206.
77LS, pp.204,205; see also TC, 3:204.
79ibid., p.205; see also James Erzberger, "Switzerland," RH, 26 December 1871, p.14; "Report from Switzerland," 9 January 1872, p.29; Cottrell, "The Prospect," 2 July 1872, p.24.
81"Ministerial Lectures," RH, 1 April 1873, p.125.
82Andrews, "Our Proposed School," RH 1 April 1873, p.124. In 1901 the school was moved to Berrien Springs and is presently named Andrews University, see SDAE, art., "Andrews University."
83"Report from Switzerland," RH, 9 January 1872, p.29.
84James White, "Progress of the Cause," RH, 26 August 1873, pp.84,85.
85White, TC, 7:34-36; Lk. 8:16; 11:33.
94"A World-wide Mission," RH, 25 August 1874, p.76.
95"General Organization of the Tract and Missionary Society," RH, 25 August 1874, pp.75,76.
96ibid., Butler, "What Shall We Make of Our School?," 21 July 1874, pp.44,45.
97James Erzberger to --, "Communication from Bro.Erzenberger," RH, 26 July 1870, pp.45,46; SDAE, art., "Erzberger, James H."
98Virgil E. Robinson, John Nevins Andrews, Flame for the Lord, (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1975,) p.83.
99Andrews, "The Swiss Watches," RH, 14 January 1873, p.40.
100Andrews, "The Case of Eld. M. B. Czechowski," RH, 8 July 1873, p.29.
101Andrews, "The Cause at Battle Creek," RH, 30 December 1873, p.20.
103The General Conference Report of statistics on membership in RH during 1867-75 provides the following data: 1867 - 4320 members; 1868 - 4475; 1869 - 4900; 1870 - 5440; 1871 - 4550; 1872 - 4801; 1873 - 5875; 1875 - 8022; In 1874 when Andrews left for Europe the church had reported a membership of "about 7500 members." Smith, "Seventh-day Adventists," RH, 10 November 1874, p.156.