1989 . . .
After but two years George R. Knight brings to the church another treatise, Angry Saints, with seven chapters, six built upon the idea of “Crisis.” The stated theme is “essentially a study of Adventist history.” This volume is a sequel to his 1987 book, From 1888 to Apostasy: The Case of A. T. Jones, but it adds some 19 specific derogatory references to the authors of 1888 Re-examined.
Knight would have his readers believe—and he repeats and emphasizes the thought in italics—that the message Waggoner [and Jones] brought was not “some special Adventist contribution to theology. It was a call to return to basic Christianity” (p. 53). This idea is repeated on page 57, again in italics, with the added slant—“Thus, from Ellen White’s perspective, the importance of the 1888 message was not some special Adventist doctrine developed by Jones and Waggoner. Rather, it was the reuniting of Adventism with basic Christianity.” This is a radical reappraisal of Ellen White’s perspective on the message she repeatedly endorsed. (Knight’s point is that the “1888 message” is only a re-emphasis of the message of the Sunday-keeping Evangelical churches on righteousness by faith.)
This contention, however, is mentioned at least six more times (pp. 112, 128, 137, 144, 147, 150). This view is an assumption which calls into question Ellen White’s appraisal of the 1888 message. She says it was the “Lord in His great mercy [who] sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones” (1888 Materials, p. 1336; Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 91). Obviously since the Lord sent the message, it was not something that Jones and Waggoner invented or gleaned from commentaries. Certainly it does not belong to the Sunday-keeping denominations. Besides claiming that they had no special message, Knight tells the reader that Jones’ character should be denigrated as “cocksure,” “always right,” “abrasiveness,” “commanding ways,” “assertive,” and that “his personality particularly antagonized his opponents” (p. 65).
The book closes with the astounding conclusion that Ellen White considered that the message had been “presented and accepted” by 1895, and “enough had accepted it sufficiently for the denomination to move on its primary mission” (pp. 153, 154). But never does Ellen White offer a hint that in the end the message was accepted. On the contrary after the Session, in 1888 she stated that there was “rejection of light sent by God”; in 1896, “the Holy Spirit has been insulted and light has been rejected”; in 1899, “they stood in stubborn defiance of truth and light and evidence”; in 1902, “[the] Minneapolis Conference is one of the saddest chapters in the history of the believers in the present truth” (1888 Materials, pp. 226, 1494, 1693, 1796).