Friday, December 01, 2006

O.R.L. Crosier - Father of anti-sabbatarianism?

I have been reading everything I can find written from about 1843-1851 that relates to our pioneers, and in particular, the solid belief in the shut-door teaching. (I highly recommend reading this work by W.W. Fletcher. ) In case you're new to all of this and are an Adventist, there are some very stinky stuffs that we find when digging under the rocks of that early period. But that's for another day.

We SDA's considered Crosier as the architect of the sanctuary message, having it pop into his head while cutting through a cornfield. (The idea is pretty corny, so...) (Corrected: it was Hiram Edson who had the thought popped into his head). Crosier published. Ellen White heartily endorsed his article "The Law of Moses". He, after renouncing those ideas and separating from the sabbatarians was written a letter inquiring what his current position was. One of the questions was:
5. Furthermore, if you feel free to do so, will you say whether you enjoyed your mind better while keeping the Sabbath than since? If so, what was the cause. Those here that keep the Sabbath say they enjoy themselves better than before, because they keep all the commandments.
His answer is very insightful:
5. What enjoyment I had while trying to keep the Sabbath is not to be placed to its credit. I had as much before, and more since. My observations and experience have convinced me that there is no real Christian enjoyment in attempts at Sabbath keeping. The enjoyment persons have in such attempts spring from other sources -- from having the prejudice of early and erroneous education satisfied, and from preventing disunion among believers, and from truths they may hold in practice. The Sabbath is legal, not Christian; therefore it cannot yield Christian enjoyment. It carries with it the spirit of "bondage" as all know who have tried to keep it; and torments with a constant consciousness of coming short of meeting its imperious demands. How often have I heard Sabbatarians say, "We can't keep it: we do the best we can; yet we can't keep it according to the Bible." The reason is, it was never designed for Christians to keep. Hence there are no directions in the New Testament how to keep it, nor to keep it at all. The Sabbatarian leaders never considered me sound on that question. I could not "wrest" the plain language of Scriptures to suit my prejudices and theories with so much facility as they. I had to admit it all, though my prejudices made the Scriptures appear to contradict themselves, and then decide what was duty from what seemed the balance of obligation, all things considered. Of this my article in the Day Dawn is proof, which Sabbatarians quote in a mutilated form. I subsequently saw the full and harmonious testimony of the New Testament against Sabbatizing. The testimony being clear and abundant, removed every doubt from my mind, so soon as I dared open my mind to receive it. Then the truth afforded me Christian enjoyment. Excited feeling is no evidence of Christian enjoyment or Christian character. It may spring from various causes and be had by the worst of men. Christian enjoyment, as such, can only spring from a sincere reception, confession and practice of the truth.
I love that last sentence.

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