Letter 1903-08-31 – Kellogg to David Paulson


August 31, 1903.

Dr. David Paulson,

28—33rd PI ace, Chicago, 111.

Dear Doctor

Enclosed find copies of letters which I mentioned to you by phone last night. I also enclose copy of letter I have just written to Dr. Mortenson which expresses pretty well my opinion just now.

Dr. Morse has returned from the Michigan camp-meeting. Evans was a candidate for the presidency of the East Michigan Conference but was defeated. It is now hinted he will probably go to Washington with them. There is no dependence to be placed on him. We are getting into strange times. It looks as tho a line of battle was being formed. We have got to know where we are and why we are there. The Conference men are determined to run the Sanitarium and the medical missionary work. St. Helena is a good sample Los Angeles another of their management. The devil will tempt some of our doctors who are ambitious for place and professional opportunities to join hands with these men for the temporary advantages they can gain irrespective of principle. I could readily name a number of men who I think will join this procession when a favorable opportunity comes. But this need not distress us. These men will accomplish. very little until they have won a reputation of their own, and then they can accomplish nothing worthwhile unless they follow right principles; and if they do, they will do good, and if they do good we have no reason to find fault with what they do. If the Lord wants the work done on a different basis and they demonstrate this to be true, we will accept the fact when it is demonstrated. I only wish we could somehow get out of this confusion and get down to good hard work for the truth. We could do a great deal more of the Lord’s business if the whole of our energies could be devoted to this one thing alone. Certain men seem to have an undiminished capacity for mischief-making. Prescott’s capacity in this line seems to be fully equal to his opportunities, he does not let a chance pass.

I enclose copy of a letter I have sent to Sister White today. I sent it to her care of Sarah McEnterfer so to be sure it is received. Poor Sarah is in a pretty hard spot. Her sympathies are with us.

I understood you over the telephone that you had “crossed the Rubicon.” I think Jones and Waggoner have done the same; and Magan and Sutherland. Glad to know that Edwards is standing straight. The principle we are standing for is right and we must stand by it. As far as I can see at the present time there isn’t any other way for us to do. We are having a hard Job for the reason we are doing a new thing. So far as I know there is no other denomination that has undertaken to organize its medical missionary work on such a basis as ours. The few medical missionaries who have gone out have gone under Boards of preachers who ruled them as they liked and they have been subjected to most terrible hardships and injustices. This is clearly enough shown by the experience of Dr. Kerr at Canton with the Presbyterian Board. He came from China and made complaint of his treatment by the Board to the great synod of the Presbyterian church. The synod decided in his favor, but it made no difference. The Board withstood him just the same; found ways by which they could circumvent the action and the purpose of the synod. Dr. Kerr wanted to start a hospital for the insane. The Board said, “How much will crazy converts be worth?” Dr. Kerr said, “Christ cast out crazy devils; so must we.” And especially he maintained that it was necessary to do some work in China which the heathen could see did not have for its purpose and chief aim the making of converts, but simply the helping of those who had fallen by the way-side irrespective of results as regards church interests. The Board could see no profit in this, and would not even permit Dr. Kerr to go out at his own expense and collect the money with which to build his hospital, But Dr. Kerr was a man of faith and went on just the same, and the Lord gave him the hospital so that before he died he had a splendid hospital for the insane, and the work is going on now,

I am more and more convinced the Lord doesn’t work through institutions nor through organizations or associations as such, nor even through general conferences or churches as such. The Lord deals with individuals, and when one is right he has all the power of the universe behind him. The great thing that concerns us is that we shall be right. We must earnestly seek the Lord for guidance so that we may know that {we may know that} we are right; then moving on with the assurance that the Lord is leading us we need have no fears or apprehensions though the way may look dark.

It is most encouraging when we look back and view the years and see what a mighty tangle of doubt, fear, and mysticism the Lord has delivered us from. We can see the clear light. We have a broad foundation for faith. We have a truth which has a mighty inspiration in it. It appeals to men and women more powerfully than any prophetic argument or any of the old doctrines which have so long been taught. These newer truths which have come to us have more converting power in them and more power to move the multitudes heavenward than all the doctrines which have been preached during the last fourty years put together, because they are backed up by evidence which does not depend upon interpretation of texts or historical dates, or any uncertain data, but upon patent, ever present indisputable facts which the most profound scientists recognize but which a school-boy can easily be made to comprehend. The simplicity of this thing, now that we have really gotten hold of it, is so amazing that theologians are at a loss to know what to do about it. The living temple gospel renders useless a whole lot of their old Flint muskets and their stale ammunition, and they have not yet learned how to handle this new fire. I thank the Lord it is not “strange fire,” but it is truth which bears the marks of eternal authority upon it. The very argument which these men make against it helps to prove it to be sound; namely, that multitudes of heathen believe in an ever present God, in God working in the living things about us. The eyes of Christians have been blinded to this fact by false philosophy, the origin of which I have not yet been able to discover but I hope to find out; namely, that the universe is managed and controlled, not by one great power “Who holdeth all and in all,” and “Who filleth all things with himself,” but by two powers, — God and Nature. This faith it the miraculous power of Nature which leaves nearly everything to be performed by an automatic force operating by itself, creating, healing, self-moving, self-regulating, while God stands off one side, looking on, doing nothing unless especially requested to do so,—this absurd faith in a purely hypothetical power, sort of abstract, “associate deity,” to which is ascribed even greater powers than are given to God himself, is to my mind the greatest and most pernicious and fundamental of all the errors of orthodoxy. It is far more pernicious and injurious as to consequences than Sunday-keeping or belief in the immortality of the soul, for out it grows a multitude of utterly wrong conceptions respecting God and man’s relations to him. With this blind faith men have no tangible basis. It must be simply a strained attempt to believe things that are unbelievable. No man holding this doctrine can have genuine, indestructible, immovable faith, but must continually cry out in his attempts to believe, “O Lord, help thou my unbelief!”

The final outcome of our beliefs and of this living gospel must be a higher grade of spiritual life, a more substantial piety than that which is the product of the old doctrines. This is the final test of all religious beliefs, and we must see to it that in our personal experience and in the work with, which we are connected this result is obtained. This is the difficult part of it, especially the perplexing situation in which we find ourselves. Let us earnestly seek the Lord for that meekness and sweetness of temper which alone will enable us to find the spirit of Christ in these difficult situations. We must pray earnestly for this and struggle mightily for victory, and must not be alienated from the love of God which alone can give us victory. The truth will certainly triumph, and whether or not we are with the truth in the day of final triumph will depend on how we relate ourselves to the great fundamental principles of human conduct, the chief of which is to love our enemies, “bless them that curse you, do good to them that despitefully use you.”

I am not writing you this by way of exhortation, but I am simply talking out what is in my own heart, and I doubt not you will agree with me.

I hope you will have a good time in Illinois and in Kansas. The principal thing is to get acquainted with a lot of young people. Do not forget to get the names of all the young people. A good way to get hold of the names is to tell them that we have some interesting literature we want to send them. Try to get some plan organised for rolling the Living Temple. We have got to get some one to take hold and push this thing good and earnestly. At the present time nothing is being done. There ought to be at least a couple hundred thousand copies sold to put us in “Easy street” financially. The Lord only knows what we have got to pass through yet. We have trials enough now and greater ones coming. I pray the Lord to go with you strengthen your hands, and give you right words to speak, and wisdom to act as occasion may require.

As ever,

Your friend and brother,



Referring to the letters from Sister White, a pertinent query which naturally arises is, What was the Lord’s purpose in putting the college buildings into the Sanitarium and requesting the Medical Missionary Board to assume the old college debt of $106,000, the sanitarium to pay an annual interest of $5,000, if the medical college is not to be maintained in Battle Creek and in connection with the sanitarium? I am thinking very strongly of writing a letter to Sister White to ask her whether it, would be best to ask the conference to relieve us of this debt and this burden of interest. I have not yet decided whether or not I shall write it. If I do I will send you a copy of the letter. I wish you would try to recall accurately as possible the substance of the conversation you had with her when you were in Oakland, also the last meeting you had with her when you saw her on the train after Daniells had told her the things which Maxson said to him; also your conversation with her after she heard of our fire. It seems very strange that she should write in this letter that the Lord had swept away the Sanitarium to prevent us from carrying out the plan to make this the headquarters for the training of medical students when she herself had urged that we should buy the college for that very purpose and had led us to assume the debt and interest on it; and more than that, to turn over to the Berrien Springs school the Missionary Acre money which had been for several years the chief and only support of the Medical Missionary Board.

I might be tempted to believe that this was a most, magnificent example of political scheming if it were not that I do not believe that any of these folks are smart enough to have conceived and carried through such a scheme. Nevertheless I do know that for years {Evans} and others have been trying to unload the College debt on to the sanitarium, and it was only by the most persistent and determined resistance that I was able to prevent this. Even up to the last minute they were determined to compel the Medical Missionary Board or the Sanitarium to assume the debt without conditions. This we did not do; however, we surrendered the Missionary Acre money which properly belonged to us as our support and have allowed ourselves to be brought, to beggary in consequence. I think by night I shall get my spunk up to right a good straight letter which will set forth this situation in clear light. Sister White is allowing her influence to be easily destroyed by permitting herself to be used as a tool by these men who adopt a crazy policy, and then go blind in their attempts to maintain the same and to compel everybody on earth to bow down and worship the image which they have erected.

I feel very much as did the crazy woman in the chapel when a long-winded preacher was making a prayer. After standing it as long as she could, she drew herself up, full-length, a tall and gaunt figure, and cried out at the top of her voice, “O, give us a rest!”

J.H. K

Letter 1903-08-31 – Kellogg to David Paulson

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