Adventist Leadership at General Conference file amicus brief with Supreme Court defending legalized abortion
In 1986 the state of Missouri enacted anti-abortion legislation with a preamble indicating that the life of each human being begins at conception. The statutes were challenged and eventually the legal fight made it's way to the Supreme Court in the case of Webster v. Reproductive Health Services. The name Webster comes from William L. Webster who was the attorney general for Missouri. When the case came before SCOTUS the legal counsel for the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church filed an amicus brief arguing in favor of legalized abortion claiming that statutes to protect children from violence "violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because they place the imprimatur of the state upon a particular sectarian belief." (page 28)
Fact: Counsel of Record was Mr. Robert W. Nixon
Fact: Nixon listed his address as 6930 Carroll Avenue, Takoma Park, MD 20912, the address used by General Conference official departments
Fact: The brief was filed March 30, 1989
Fact: Robert Nixon is listed in the official Adventist Church 1989 yearbook as official legal counsel for the GC here (page 28) https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB1989.pdf
Did Tithe to the Southern Missionary Society Go to Adventist denominational ordained ministers or independent workers?
On the topic of Seventh-day Adventists and tithe there are people who try to argue that the %10 tithe does not need to be returned to the conference or church. They claim that tithe can be sent to independent ministries or wherever they feel "God's work" is being done. The number one most common evidence that they provide in support of their claim is the situation in 1904 when some women in Colorado gave tithe to W.O. Palmer who at the time was a representative for the Southern Missionary Society. Palmer took the tithe (unsolicted) back to the SMS where it was applied to the Society's work. Anti-tithers say "See! The tithe went to ministers and bible workers and missionaries and since the 1905 Watson Letter gives the appearance of approval then we are also free to send the tithe wherever we want to!" The big problem however is that the tithe in question went only to ordained official denominational conference ministers. It was not given to bible workers, missionaries, or any other workers. And we know this because President of the Southern Missionary Society J.E. White explicitly says so:
Letter dated March 28, 1905 addressed to "Eld. A.G. Daniells, Tacoma Park Station, Washington, D.C." J.E. White says "for several years the Southern Missionary Society has supported from two to five ordained ministers among the colored people, and this support has come from the donations received but the conferences have not allowed the tithe to go to their support." (page 2) "Some people have placed their tithe in mother's hands and she has forwarded to our Society, promptly, to help meet the pay-roll of the ministers. Recently three sisters in Colorado have sent their tithe to the pay the colored ministers in the South." (page 3) "Bro. Palmer never asked an individual to pay tithe, and he certainly did not ask the church to pay its tithe. For this I have the statement of Bro. Palmer and from each of the sisters who paid the tithe." (page 3) "Bro. Palmer said...he never solicited tithe from our people" (page 3) "I will here say that we keep a separate account of the small amounts of tithes that come to us in this way and apply them entirely to pay the ministers working for the colored people." (page 3) "The sisters whom I visited both said their paying tithes was voluntary on their part and was in no way solicited." (pages 3-4)
Here is the actual scanned letter https://ellenwhite.org/correspondence/181834
In a letter dated May 8, 1914 addressed to "Elder C.P. Bollman of Nashville, Tenn." J.E. White says "that all the remittances to the Society sent from tithe, was kept in a separate account and used exclusively in paying ministers." (page 1)
Here is the actual scanned letter https://ellenwhite.org/correspondence/180879
In another letter dated May 8, 1914 addressed to "Mrs. R. Leitzman, Anaheim, Cal." J.E. White claims that tithe went to "[ordained] ministers" (page 2) and "Every dollar received from the tithe of our people was placed in a separate account on the books of the Southern Missionary Society, and was used for paying these ministers and for no other purpose whatever." (page 3) And he specifically says these ministers were ordained by the denomination. Again, here is the actual scanned letter https://ellenwhite.org/correspondence/181345
Was the tithe solicited? No
Did the tithe leave the church? No, the Southern Missionary Society was an official ministry of the Southern Union
Did the tithe go to missionaries? No
Did the tithe go to bible workers? No
Did the tithe go to independent ministers? No
Did the tithe go only to ordained denominational ministers? Yes
Did Ellen White ever encourage anyone to send tithe outside the church? No
Unfortunately, even though these facts have been publicly documented for years people especially within "independent ministries" continue to ignore this evidence and claim that Ellen White supported sending tithe outside the denomination to independent workers. This is false. They have zero evidence to substantiate their claim and their only hope of successfully passing off this misrepresentation is that their audience is unaware of the details of this history.
Mrs. Ellen White speaks at the 9th Annual Session of the American Health and Temperance Association. November 15, 1887 in Oakland, California. A report of this event and her words (reprinted below) are found on pages 107-108 of the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, February 14, 1888 here
Mrs. E. G. White then spoke for a few moments. She said:
"I know that this is the very work that must go with the Third Angel's Message. As our first parents lost Eden through the gratification of appetite, a way has been opened for us, by the sacrifice of the Son of God, whereby we may regain Eden by the denial of appetite. Our ministers certainly are the ones to interest themselves in this question, and to speak of it from the best stand-point possible, in order to reach the hearts of the people. I have heard some, when speaking in reference to temperance, say, I have not time. I have so much to do in preaching here and there upon the Third Angel's Message and the reasons of our faith, that I cannot take time to engage in the health and temperance work. If these men would cut their sermons short about one third, the people would receive more benefit from them, and they would then have time to speak upon this question.
"The introduction of health and temperance literature in connection with denominational works, may be the means of your reaching a class of people who would be much opposed to you, if it were not for your temperance principles. Whenever you can get an opportunity to unite with the temperance people, do so. But, you say, 'we are not of their faith.' Did Jesus say so when he was invited to great festivals? Did he say, They do not believe on me, and it is of no use for me to go there'-No, he went just for the purpose of bringing himself to their notice, and to lead them to believe from his conversation and deportment that he was of God. These things should have a telling influence upon us. People believe everything they ought not to of us. How are we going to undeceive them unless by associating with them? You say they are going to carry this question right along with the Sunday movement. How are you going to help them on that point? You have an opportunity to show them that you are the most earnest temperance people in the world; and yet you are not improving the opportunity offered you in regard to the temperance question. How are you going to let your light shine to the world without uniting with them in this temperance question? You can do it. You have ideas they never thought of, and this places you on vantage ground. If you engage with them in this work, you will find there will be an opportunity to speak of the truth. We can do no better work than to interest ourselves in helping others to a knowledge of the principles of temperance reform. When you do that, you are blessing them, and their hearts will be open to receive the truth.
"Our brethren ought to keep temperance pledges on hand, for use on every proper occasion. Brethren and sisters, we want you to see the importance of this temperance question, and we want our workers to interest themselves in it, and to know that it is just as much connected with the Third Angel's Message as the right arm is with the body. We ought to make advancement in this work."
THE DOCTRINE OF THE PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AS TAUGHT BY THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH UP TO 1900
The following document is a thesis presented at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in August 1953. I typed this up as a personal copy that is easier to search than the original PDF here.
The following document on the history of tithing within the Seventh-day Adventist Church was initially published in December 1992 with additional material published in October 1994. In February 2020 Mr. Parfitt granted permission to republish the paper as a PDF for ease of research/education.
Condensed Summary version:
Glyn Parfitt, "Independent Ministries and Tithe," Record, Vol 101 No 9, March 9, 1996, pages 6-8
James Standish, "The Other Side of Tithe," The Anchor, No. 41, September 1992