The Living Temple Crisis – The Historical Journey to our Present Crisis

John Harvey Kellogg – 1852 to 1943

John Harvey Kellogg was an American medical doctor in Battle Creek, Michigan, who ran a sanitarium using holistic methods, with a particular focus on nutrition, enemas, and exercise. Kellogg was a strong advocate of circumcision and vegetarianism for health. He is best known for the invention of the breakfast cereal known as corn flakes with his brother, Will Keith Kellogg.

At age ten, he worked in his father’s broom factory in Battle Creek, Michigan. By the age of 16 he was a public school teacher. The next year he attended high school and graduated the same year.

He was personal friends for many years with Ellen and James White.  They even helped fund his education in 1873 encouraging him to take a medical course.

In 1876, after finishing a two-year medical course, at age 24 he was appointed superintendent of the Health Reform Institute in Battle Creek, Michigan. It had opened ten years earlier as an answer to a call from Ellen White for Seventh-day Adventists to provide such an institution. Under Dr. Kellogg’s management it grew and prospered, achieving world-wide recognition as the Battle Creek Sanitarium.

Shortly before the turn of the century Dr. Kellogg came into conflict with church leaders over the control of all Seventh-day Adventist medical institutions. He would bump heads over the negative finances of the Sanitarium as well.  He finally did gain control of the Battle Creek Sanitarium. At his peak influence, Kellogg had 2,000 people employed in his work, while employees for the rest of the entire church numbered only 1,500.

In February 1902, the Battle Creek Sanitarium burned to the ground.  Ellen White wrote about this being an actual judgment from God.  Ellen White did not want this Sanitarium rebuilt with the intentions Kellogg had.  And he ignored her advice.

Funds were needed to be raised for the new building.  So Dr. Kellogg decided to write a medical book called the Living Temple.  He prepared a manuscript. It was to be a book about physiology and health.   The sales of the book would go toward building a new sanitarium.  A very good idea coming from a man in his position.  But the General Conference Committee reviewed the manuscript and rejected it.

He began teaching strange doctrines regarding the nature of God.  And Kellogg had adopted some theological understandings about God that he just couldn’t keep out that he inserted into this book.  And so his theology and his understanding about God that he inserted in this book was simply this.  That God is not an actual person who is a physical tangible being.  That God is this essence that pervades in everything.  It is what the new age believes today.  That God is in everything, in the flowers and in the trees.  If your taking a bath or shower, God is in the water would be one example.  It is called Pantheism.

What he had done is destroy the true biblical picture God has presented about himself.  And so the book was very problematic. This belief system tends to lead someone to nature worship.  Because if God is in the tree and the flowers, then you can worship that.

Before the General Conference committee could report it’s findings, Kellogg submitted an order to the Review and Herald publishing house to print 5000 copies of the book.  Before the book could be printed, the publishing house burned down in late December that same year.  Many Adventists thought this was just a coincidence.  Dr. Kellogg in his stubbornness went ahead and had the book printed by another publisher anyway.

Ellen White wrote him many personal messages of warning, but he ignored them.  It must have been very difficult for Sister White later in life correcting the Doctors’ errors relating to religious matters. Ellen White warned him against separating the medical work from the church. She also was concerned that he had gathered too much power to himself. Despite Kellogg’s attempts to discredit her, she relentlessly tried to save him from apostasy.

And that is why Mrs. White put these warnings in her writings.

Loma Linda Messages, p. 293 – 1903

“The teaching regarding God that is presented in Living Temple is not such as our students need.……Those who express such sentiments regarding Him show that they are departing from the faith.”

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The Living Temple Crisis – The Historical Journey to our Present Crisis

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