Generally speaking, the people who made history were often unaware of how far their actions and decisions were going. The job that the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the early pioneers did was an extraordinary work. The proclamation of the Sabbath truth, the ministry of the heavenly sanctuary, and the warning of a fallen Babylon were some of the revelations God intended for the world to know during a time infested with spiritual darkness.
History teaches that one of the greatest apostolic doctrines of all time is Christ’s second coming. In the middle of the 19th century, an era in which faith and evolution were in a very heated debate, both with allegations of new discoveries, the Adventist Church emerged as a beacon of light to the earth. Men and women arose preaching and studying the Word of God in various places, teaching people to obey God’s Ten Commandments, while awaiting His second coming.
All this exciting history began right here in the territory of the Atlantic Union. The message, the methodology, the mission, and the money were all combined to extend the work that was given to our early founders during those challenging times in our church’s history. They used the most advanced transportation, communication, media, building construction, and publishing technology of their time. The sentiment and high sense of calling were characterized by a similar spirit to that of the church in the book of Acts, where Jesus’ disciples had all things in common (Acts 2:44).
The famous writer-philosopher George Santayana was the first to say, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” As a movement of the end time, we must never forget how dark it was and how obscure it will get just before the coming of the Lord. “The work which the church has failed to do in a time of peace and prosperity she will have to do in a terrible crisis under most discouraging, forbidding circumstances. The warnings that worldly conformity has silenced or withheld must be given under the fiercest opposition from enemies of the faith. And at that time the superficial, conservative class, whose influence has steadily retarded the progress of the work, will renounce the faith”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 463.
Today, our generation is writing the new history. What will the next generation read? Like the early pioneers, we must invest our resources in utilizing the best methods available to communicate. The effect will enhance the voices of the three angels of Revelation, with the proclamation of the gospel in the most cost-effective and relevant manner.
As we commemorate another anniversary of the work of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in this region, let’s remain truthful to the One who has given us the task. Let our commitment to advance the mission of this church remain in us as we continue to write the final pages of the history of this world. Ellen G. White wrote, “I have received most precious assurances that our early experiences were of God. I wish that every one of our people might know, as I know, of the sure and certain way in which the Lord led us in times past”—Letter 262, November 24, 1903. She also said, “We have nothing to fear for the future except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history”—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 31.