To what extent have our distinctive doctrinal positions been recognized by others before us? How nearly are our positions )on the prophecies, especially in Daniel and the Revelation, uniquely Adventist in origin and proclamation? Wherein do we differ from those who have recognized these truths?
These are the legitimate and logical queries of an inquiring mind. It is either lack of investigation or erroneous information that has led some to make unwarranted claims as to denominational patent rights to discovery and proclamation of many of our distinctive doctrines and prophetic interpretations. Rather, this movement has separated the gold from the dross and the true from the false, to present the glorious cluster of related truths in the light of the judgment hour and the impending advent of our Lord.
We err when we either claim or infer that most of the doctrinal truths or prophetic interpretations we stress originated with us. Nor is their present proclamation confined to our movement. The Seventh-day Sabbath was proclaimed by others, and still is. The second, personal, imminent advent of Christ ,is most vigorously proclaimed by many Fundamentalists. The truths relative to the nature of man, health reform, stewardship, and a score of other features, are variously emphasized.
The outstanding difference is that by others they are held as single gems in a cluster of errors, and are presented apart from the threefold message of Revelation 14. The second advent, the Sabbath, and the ministry of Jesus in the sanctuary, with their related truths, cannot be separated in God's special message for the hour. And this unity is found nowhere save in this movement. But it is neither humiliating nor compromising to recognize the part that others have played in hewing these foundations.
This is true in the realm of prophecy. Those familiar with the dissertations on prophecy extant when Elder Uriah Smith wrote his remarkable exposition of the prophecies, are well aware of the origin of many of the positions he set forth. His was a work of segregation and assembling of the gems of prophetic truth glimpsed by those who had gone before. It is not an infallible book, but was remarkably free from errors for its time. Given sufficient time, practically all his positions (aside from the sanctuary truth, which is unique in this movement) could be duplicated from the books he so assiduously studied. This is not said to the disparagement of this noble pioneer and his great book. Rather, it is in praise of his discernment. But we must recognize that there were other earnest pioneer students of prophecy. Even the view that the papacy rather than Turkey is the king of the north in Daniel 11, agitated a few years ago, was set forth in a book in the writer's possession, " Cox on the Book of Daniel," published in 1843. A recognition of these undeniable historical facts will temper any tendency to bombast, and give credit to whom credit is due.
This is God's chosen remnant movement. It has gleaned from a hundred sources the correlated system of truth we profess. Let us recognize preparatory agencies, giving them their full credit. Let us at the same time remember that these agencies were but forerunners, and that God has thrown upon us the solemn responsibility for faithfully discharging our obligation to the world, and for separating truth from error in the field of historic, prophetic, and doctrinal interpretation.
L. E. F.