Adventist History Podcast
Adventist History Podcast

Season 1, Episode · 8 months ago

1922 - March 2022 Bonus Episode


Matthew chats with Dr. Michael Campbell about his new book, 1922 - a sequel to his 1919 book which covers the rise of Adventist fundamentalism. The book will launch in May 2022.

The What: 

The Adventist History Podcast tells a story of the Seventh-day Adventist Church each month and is hosted by Matthew J. Lucio.



All Right, Michael, welcome back to the Evan as history podcast for this bonus episode. Thanks for having me. Matthew, we are talking about your forthcoming book, Nineteen Twenty Two, which is a kind of a sequel of sorts to nineteen nineteen. But I'm curious because I think, if I understand this correctly, you're nineteen nineteen book was basically a slimming down and in rewriting of your dissertation, like funneling it down to a shorter book, right for the masking popularizing it. Did you think when you wrote that book that you were going to write follow up books? Well, I did not, I didn't. I thought this was a one off and I would be moving on in new directions. So I really, Matthew, did not see this book coming. But in a way maybe I should have seen it coming, because I'll be honest with you, when I was doing my doctoral work, I wanted to do a broad treatment of advatism and fundamentalism, and George night, who had the privilege to work with, he basically told me, since, Michael, you gotta shorten your topic and make it manageable so you get done. You've got the rest of your life to do work on Avatus history in the twenty century especially, which is what you want to do. So just do this and then, yeah, have fun, basically have a nice life and write as much about avatis histories you can. And so I guess you could say I've always wanted because I'm interested in the broader motives. Sure of what this book brings up and in a way, even though I didn't kind of plan it this way, it kind of falls naturally in that direction and in some ways I'm finally exploring the stuff I really wanted to get to. Oh my goodness, like twenty years ago. Yeah, yeah, it was are a moment when you were when you were doing the nineteen book, or maybe after when you were talking about a camp meetings, when you realized I want to keep going with this. Well, yes, because some of these issues with nineteen nineteen, how we interpret inspired writings, are really important. So I talked about one Thousan nineteen nineteen. Now it's polarized and there's different ways of interpreting inspired writings and all of those kinds of things are sort of but there's sort of the rest of the story, that aftermath, what happens next, and so there's kind of a natural segue to want to and I had had some like teasers, I guess you'd say, where I had found little bits and pieces along the way, things that were clearly tantalizing to me and I wanted to explore them more. But I'll be honest, until covid kind of hit the last two years kind of forced me to you know, I'm just home, I'm a I'm a religion teacher. I'm stuck at home teaching online classes and I can't go to any archives or anything. I'm just stuck, and so it forced me to read through the old reviews, the old signs, watchman magazine, the old fashioned way, page by paying this, and I had a lot of fun doing that. And I can't say I've read every word and every page, but but just slowing down and then really absorbing some of this and then I started seeing a ha moments where I was like, oh my goodness, how did I not know this? How did I miss this? You know, yeah, yeah, so you've got nineteen, twenty two coming out. This is going to be centering, I'm guessing from the from the name on this, on this pivotal General Conference Session in Nineteen twenty two, where Daniels is voted out of office or well, you know, he does a little switcheroo with with spicer. Right, right, yeah, and I subtitle it the rise of adventist fundamentalism. I like that, you know, because we just had the rise of skywalkers. Or any connection there? Absolutely, you know, I gotta got a tie in some star wars and Advancestry, Matthew Verry. Now, Ye, can't help... That's right, that's right. There, everything is connected. Is there? Is this? Is this the stopping point where we're going to go beyond nineteen twenty two? Even yes, and yes, the I would like to see. I'd like to see pushing because here's the thing is, I just put this nineteen twenty two book together and I kept finding more stuff. Yeah, there's more there, and so, honestly, the nineteen twenty two book is just like a highlights real where I've included some stuff that I found that I felt was really important. But I have enough for ready for a third volume. Whether that will come out exactly as a trilogy or just will be a completely different volume, I don't know. I haven't figured that out. What I want to do next in you and I've been talking about this a little bit right so getting ideas and publishing and how do we disseminate research that we're working on to to get that those ideas and the best research that's coming along and getting that out there so people can can get it, have access to it and digest it though these ideas, because these ideas are really importantly matter a great deal for adventist identity today. So I'm not sure, but I have a lot more that's there. I'll give you example. In nineteen twenty two, one of the things you see race and gender. I really I have a whole chapter on gender. I've kind of siphoned off the chapter on race and I've made that a separate article and publishing elsewhere and so then. So I've got these two motives. But the one that just blew me away is the s is truly the era where last generation theology comes into its own. Whatever that next volume looks like, I can probably subtitle it the paradox of last generation theology, because it's okay. It's part of adventist identity. We believe Jesus is coming. There will be a last generation, but we the paradox is this Funa mentalism and perfectionism and where we have to do it ourselves. And of course ML and reason's famous for teaching these things. You know, ten twenty years later and some of his writings. But long before and reason was a thing in adventism, last generation theology was on the rise and it clearly was happening in the S. and whatever comes next it's going to have to in some way engage with the what I you know, the genesis or the development of last generation theology, and that's probably the most significant thing, and that's still yet to come. Now, for someone who may be listening who's like, what's last generation theology, can you give them a little kind of a brief, one sentence? What is what is that all about? Why is that a big deal? Yeah, so George night and several other theologians and historians in the Church of kind of highlighted in the s and s and melend reason the leading theologian of the adventist church, and he'll later become a big part of the drama of the s with questions on doctrine and feeling really upset about that. But he articulated in his commentary on Hebrews. How right, at the very end of time, after the closer probation, there will be a generation there absolutely sinless and stand without a mediator. And so this idea having to make yourself perfect so that you can withstand the final onslaught and and basically prove to the universe that. And so the whole center of the great controversy then falls upon those people being perfect at the very end of time and in a way they're kind of bringing on the on the end Jesus being able to come by being perfect enough. Right. So that's the sort of last generation theology takes several ideas, several quotes by Ellen White, but it takes them out of context. It takes these ideas in a very, I would argue, aberrant, but a very unhelpful kind of way. So what is you know, because we need to be ready for Jesus to come. These are all very important things to our advagist identity.

That the crux of it all is when we make the plan of salvation not about Jesus but about ourselves. And that's where it's problematic. And so last generation theology. Now recently several critics have pointed out so well, they didn't actually use the term last generation theology. HMM, and you're right, they didn't use the term the words. That's kind of a later term. That just like we do this all the time with other things, right, we use later terms to describe earlier ideas. Trinity its. Yeah, that's another good one. They would have termed it in the s was the victorious life, leaving the victorious life, and so probably a more historically accurate way of putting it would be victorious life adventism, because they're talking about how to have that victorious life for Christ to come see. So once you see that Lens, you see it all over the place in the S. is just pervasive in the S, both the review the signs have whole editorial department's called the victorious life. So you know it's there. It's there. Yeah, so this is really interesting. I mean I'm sure many avenues who are listening I heard of last generation theology. They're getting it, but I think in many people's minds last generation theology is this thing that becomes really big in the S and following and it's kind of like the the origins of it, though, are rather murky. So I don't want to get too much into whatever book you have next about this, because we're excited about it. We want to you know, it's nice to kind of from the where of the roots of this thing. Yeah, yeah, where are the roots of this thing? We're just going to keep going. Well, and that's my one thousand eight hundred twenty two book, right. That's that's really what we're getting into. Yeah, so, I mean, I think that's that's what's really intriguing about this. I know when we went through this time period in the in the in the podcast. You know, I think go into it as in depth it and read every the review. But I think what's interesting is a lot of the things. I think what what Aven is today will figure out is that a lot of the things they take for granted as adventists, as part of our normal and Orthodox practice, doesn't so much have its roots in the pioneering generations of the church but in these first few decades of the twentieth century. Is that an accurate thing to say? Yeah, you know what a lot of people will call you know, the sort of more conservative and those that really espouse last generation theology. Today you have the those kinds of because history is complex. Right, it's it's just really complex. It's not exactly the same today. There's contingency, there's agency things and so but recognizing those things when I you know, those that kind of had a more perfectionistic kind of adventism in last generation theology. What what I really hear them saying is the adventism they want to go back to is not the s or the S. it's the nineteen S. Yeah, the nineteen S. yeah, it's so. It's probably one of the most significant decades in all of adventist history. Yeah, and yet it's probably the least studied of those various turning points. If you please. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's definitely the roaring s, for a completely different reason, with fundamentalism. So, I mean that makes sense. That makes sense. How you you know you're going to cut you cover this in nineteen, nineteen, nineteen twenty two and perhaps another book that's going to be rooted in the nineteen twenties as well. This is what I hear you saying. Critical for avidence. Understand, because it's like a it's like a gap in our collective memory. We understand the nineteen century, we understand the eighteen hundreds and we understand a little bit of our more recent modern age, but this is just like a black hole. One of the things you point out in the nineteen twenty two book here is is this kind of creed making, not creed making, mistatement of beliefs. Yeah,... know, we obviously have it with Your Eyes Smith. We have a first edition of it, you know, back way back when in the s. But but it's not just the it's not. We often just look at we go from like eight what is on eighteen, seventy four or something was Smith, all the way to, yeah, all the way up to thirty two, and we like there's nothing in between. But you found that there's actually enough a few statements in between. That began in the late nineteens, right, and into the S, or maybe began in the S, I should say. And so there's this there's this process here in the s of like what is it that we believe and how do we define this? And Right, we're making these statements. Yeah, and this is great, because s what's going on in adventism. Right. So you got your Eyes Smith, you've got James White, and they're having these intense dialogs with the advent Christian Church and was seventh day baptist, those who were most common, you know, belief in the second Aven, the Sabbath, these these commonalities, right, and so they're actually exchanging delegates for the seventh day baptist. It goes really, really well. They actually exchange delegates at general conference sessions with the Advent Christian Church with miles grant. It doesn't go so well. Miles Grant Kicks James and Ellen White off the campground and says basically don't ever come back and he spends the rest of his life attacking Ellen White. So the whole advent Christian dialog just really goes south and it's most unfortunate. But but it's those inner actions that caused church leaders to say, oh well, we got any to have a explanation of what we believe, because we we're against creeds, and most Protestant churches would have defined themselves. Hey, we don't believe in credleism. You know, that's sort of the this American religious kind of, you know, in the heyday of the Christian connection and restorationism. We don't want to get tied down with creeds. So this is kind of it's not adventist are not unique in that respect. They're kind of part of this this populist kind of element. Let's not get bogged down with crees, but but they start basically having to define avatist fundamental beliefs, which is, if we're really honest, that's kind of creeds right. That's you. All it is is an articulation of what you believe. What advtis don't like is that it becomes rigid and formal. That's how they that's the part of creed making they don't like. But the idea that you actually explain your beliefs is something that's very normal and that our pioneers found very helpful. Now, the missing link between eighteen seventy two and nineteen thirty one, when we have our first statement that appears in the yearbook and sets off through the twenty century, is there's an in between period that every adventist historian scholar that's looked at this has has glossed or missed. And that and it shocked me because, slowing down, I started finding this stuff in Nineteen nineteen, nineteen twenty, nineteen twenty one. We're and and it's clearly a reaction to the historical fundamentalists. MMM, and the fundamentalist are having to produce statements of faith. Most of them are the five fundamentals, on the you know, on the Virgin Birth of Christ, the atonement and in Aaran see of the Bible and so on. So they're having to define that because they wanted to find themselves against the modernist. So this pulse, there's this huge pulse within fundamentalism and as adventist interact with the fundamentalists who are doing this, producing these statements of faith, they're like, wait a minute, we need to define what we believe in conjunction with what the fundamentalists are doing, because there's these interactions they're having to engage in define who they are juxtaposed with this historical fundamentalist movement. And so there's the series of statements of belief. I wouldn't say that they're copied from the fundamentalist but it's clearly in reaction to the what the fundamentalists were doing. And all of them have this basic order where they're dealing with the same list of major beliefs that the fundamentalists and so they're kind of like here's the same kind of thing and, oh, by the way, here's all the unique extra things they advtus, believed to and so you have a series of...

...these beliefs, these statements of fundamental beliefs. First Time I see that really being used, that terminology in that way. You'll see lists of beliefs, slightly different terminology, often very close, but actual fundamental beliefs. And one of the leaders of that was eff and Wilcox, who attends these fundamentalist prophecy conferences. He's a major force in all of this and later in nineteen thirty one, he's the one that is the lead person in the nineteen thirty one list of fundamental beliefs that appears in the Adventus your book. But that basic list is basically essentially the same, with a slight tweaking, but it's essentially the same as what he had developed all the way back in one thousand nine hundred and twenty, so more than a decade earlier. And so what that shows is that the fundamental beliefs and this pulse of creating statements of fundamental beliefs is directly tied to this historical fundamentalist movement, this whole thing with fundamentalism, and that's a Lacuna that that just no one's made that connection before. So I think that's a significant contribution and, by the way, I don't think that's a bad thing. You know, explaining what we believe to others, sure, is a very good thing, but we do need to know and understand the historical context out of which that arose. Yeah, because I think the we we like to fool ourselves, as aviduce in thinking, well, we're just kind of doing this stuff in a vacuum, we're not influenced by the world, including the religious world, around us. You know. You know, we're just making these decisions as we see fit, purely reasonable, purely led by you know, and it's like you're not, because you see, I mean you, you've explored these ties between the capital f fundamentalist. I know this word gets thrown around the lot and applied to like everybody that somebody disagrees with, but it's a problem because a lot of people don't get fundamentalism and they just see as a pejorative thing. And what I'm trying to do is take this as a historical movement and studying it and its interactions, historically speaking. So this is not my research is and saying Oh, I'm trying to call out people. You're a fundamentalist to CUTSHA. Yeah, right, that's that's not what this is about. Yeah, well, I mean my experience, I'll just switch gears. My experience with the word. When I first heard it, it was pejorative before it was historical. Back in the days of America Online, I used to get into the Catholic chat room, and that's with confession time. Confession time. Yeah, and anyways, you know, when we would get into these will call them discussions, you know, they were all look, the fundamentalists are back, and not just me, but some Baptist and other people who are in there causing trouble, and it's like, you know, we're called fundamentalist and I didn't understand what the word was then. I just knew it was something you didn't want to be, because they were calling me that, you know, and it's like, boy, this word really needs to be rescued for historical purposes, because it actually applied to a group of people and you know, and it wasn't just a later on it became a pejorative, but it's actually a useful word to understanding this period of history and we have to understand what it really means. So I but the interesting thing, I think, is that avenues applied this word to themselves, didn't they? Oh My yes, I have yet to find an adventist from after the death of Ellen white up until one thousand nine hundred and thirty who see fundamentalism as anything except the very best of what advatism should and is. MMM. And that's the that's the crazy thing, matthew, and you know, AG Daniels gets up at the one thousand Nin hundred and Ninety Bible Conference and extols, you know, William B Riley and others who are well known historically, is part of that historical fundamentalist movement as icons and is sort of models, role models for what advatism needs and should...

...should be. So and finally get to the point where you know, advatus authors are like, you know, we are the true fundamentalists. That's right. And then some whole series of people say, you know, where the fundamentalists of the fundamentalists? You know, because if if people really took their reading of scripture, a literal reading of scripture, and took it seriously, these fundamentalists would have to start keeping the seventh they sabbath because they believe in a little creation and in all of that. So if you believe in the Bible is an arrant and and so on, then you have to believe in a little creation. If you believe in little creation, you have to believe in the seventh they sabbath. So it's very logical, right, very logical. But I mean, did even is purely see fundamentalism is a theological thing, or did they participate in what fundamentalists are known for in terms of their militancy, they're kind of combativeness with culture around them? Well, of course they did, right. I mean, I've been sharing with you some of my fun cartoons. I've been finding. There's literally hundreds of these things where they're you know. So they're fully engaged in the culture wars going on around them. They see this as a threat to Christianity and to specifically adventistbelief. So and and that means that the the same things the fundamentalists were doing, purifying and looking for the Orthodoxy of missionaries overseas and of teachers in schools. Those were the two fronts where they were really the battle lines were drawn. We have to double down and make sure, and I tell the story the beginning of the book that I first found, you know, a long time ago, and wrote up about the AVAGISM's first generation of historians, of of EF Albert's worth and e and so on. They basically get kicked to the curb because they, you know, they're they're accused of being Jesuit Catholic infiltrators, sympathizers, right, and so, oh, we CAUGHTCHA, and and they get kicked out. And and that mentality of having to protect the faith from those who are perceived as less Orthodox, are less faithful, is a pulse you find in the wider historical fundamentalist movement and you certainly see that happening with an adventism. And and as far as I'm concerned, the earliest rumors of JESUITS infiltrating the church really takes back to this s period. That's a topic that needs a lot more exploration, UH HUH. But I think it's a lot of fun, right, you know, these the whole conspiracy theories and stuff where, yeah, it's all kind not for Albert work, but yeah, yeah, I wasn't for him, but I know there's several that are are taking up these themes and moving with them in some fun new directions. And Yeah, and and another one of those, and I don't want to get ahead of you, but another good example of this kind of militantly needing to defend the faith is that they saw themselves under siege, under a threat. You know, they have the bureau of Investigation, the precursor of the FBI. I found that stuff because it's in the minutes of the Nineteen Nineteen Bible Conference and I reference it in my dissertation. But at that time those materials were still restricted. You couldn't access them. But surprise of surprises, several years ago a couple of good historians, Jeffrey Storrio and Kevin Burton, they had applied to get those things declassified or whatever, and they were successful in doing that. So they were able to do what I wasn't able to do. And this shows you how research kind of builds off of one another, right, you know, it's more source has become available and and they've gone that down that rabbit hole to great length. So I've just highlighted basically once again in my one thousand nine hundred and twenty two books, some of the stuff that I had found a long time ago. I certainly acknowledge and appreciate how others have kind of picked up that mental because I just think that's this utterly fascinating that here they are under surveillance by by the the federal government, who are watching over. Are you loyal enough? Are you patriotic enough? And by the way, this this hole, this pro ups the...

...whole surge of Christian nationalism, of patriotism, of adventist haven't having to prove that they are loyal, patriotic Americans. And and here's the crazy thing, matthew, is there's all these articles in the review. There's a patriotic, you know, war department in Church periodicals and a number of them, and they have articles titled Like Hundred Percent Americanism. Oh My, you can do to be to prove you're basically your loyalty to America by eating less imports from overseas, from certain parts of the world. So there's one that's eat less sugar. And it's not because Ellen White says the health message is good, it's because you can prove your patriotic loyalty. And and and here's another one. Here's a kicker, right, is is this whole thing about flags and churches. So this whole thing about flags and churches clearly ties back to World War One in this government surveillance and having to prove that adventists are truly loyal there, their loyal Americans. And so you have all these things in church periodicals and and and that's when you start looking around in pictures and you can clearly see a shift where Adventus are putting flags in American churches. And and here's here's the other one is that you know, I'm writting about the nineteen twenty two general conference session. If you look at the pictures that have survived from that nineteen twenty two GC, looking and you see American flags all over the place. MMM. So they're having to prove as the church is becoming a greasingly global church. But but it's ironic because here they're draping themselves in American flags to prove their, you know, their Americanness. And I love that because this is just how research is. You build on the research of others, you find something other people you know, new sources become available that maybe weren't accessible in the past and in this is the fun of history is we're able to to continue pushing those boundaries in our historical understanding in new directions. It's just it's hilarious to me because it's like, you know, revelation thirteen, the land beasts America. So lavery is a sin. Dout a lot of out of the Oh wait, the bureau of Investigations looking into us. Quick, put up American flags. Where Patriotic. Stop eating sugar. Who America? It's like, this is the people. This is a group people who are like we are ready for the end times, we will undergo a persecution, we will be faithful until the end. Oh wait, they're asking questions about us. Quick, it's like, put up some flags. Yeah, that's kind of what happened. You know, I mean that it was serious and and and it raises good questions that we still wrestle with today. You know, I mean that there's all these culture words going on within our culture and society now, even with an avotism, you know, talking about politics and and and how do we, how do we deal with these kinds of things? And and what's great about history and adventist history, can look back a century ago and we're like, oh my goodness, I can't believe they were having the same kinds of problems and then we can maybe talk about them historically. And when it comes to politics and faith is so I keep telling my students. You know, our faith has to inform our politics, and nutter politics informing our faith. I think that's a good lesson. That's a takeaway from this time period in the wake of World War One that actually has a lot of resonants with what's happening around us at this current moment. Yes, yes, so, guys, this book is, if you can't tell from this short conversation, this book we're going to talk about patriotism in the FBI, we're going to talk about Jesuit spies, we're going to talk about we didn't even really get into the inspiration of ellen white here, or gender or you know. I mean, there's there's so much going on in this book. Guys, Michael, if somebody wants to pick up one thousand nine hundred and twenty two, it's not out yet. Any word on when it might be available? Well, it should be coming out very,...

...very soon. I was going over proof pages this last week and I expected to be out in May. So it will be available through Adventus Book Centers. It should be available on Amazon, on kindle and so in fact, I'm told very, very soon there should be a links going up is that people can pre order it as soon as as soon as we do that, we can maybe even drop a link to that in the show notes or something. Okay, that sounds great, and of course we'll let you know on social media, on Instagram, AM and facebook. If you are following the avenues history podcast, will let you know when it comes out as well. By the way, in the meantime you can go check out Michael and Greg Howel's podcast, evidence pilgrimage. They just did an episode on vaccines, which I'm sure will not be controversial at all, not at but that's, you know, a topic, a topic that a few years ago you could talk about and everybody would think was boring, is suddenly like cutting edge controversial. So, you know, good on you guys for tackling that. But anyways, they post about the first of every month. You can go listen to avenue pilgrimage and and you can also just of course, stay here toward the end of the month on the twenty two when we are going through our series on the questions on doctrine and that controversy, so I guess we're all stepping in it these days. anyways, Michael, thanks so much. We're looking forward to reading one thousand nine hundred and twenty two when it comes out in a few months. All the best, my friend. Thanks, Matthews.

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