"To criticise, expose and condemn others is not a pleasant task; but when religious teachers enthrone error, and mislead honest people, silence would be unkind and censurable."
Being profoundly convinced that Seventh-Day Adventism is a system of error, I feel it my duty to publish what I know of it. I do it in the fear of God. Knowing the sorrow it has brought to my heart and to thousands, I must warn others against it. I do not question the honesty of the Adventists, but their sincerity does not sanctify their errors. I have had to speak plainly, but, I trust kindly. I have had to treat each subject briefly, and leave many untouched, but I have taken up the main pillars of that faith! if these fall, the whole must go down.
It is now nearly twenty-five years since this book was first published. This is the fourteenth edition. It has been translated into several languages, sold by numerous publishing houses, gone to the ends of the earth wherever Adventism has gone, and has been the greatest obstacle that work has ever had to meet. Yet Adventists have ventured no answer to it. Say what they may, it is evident that they would gladly answer it if they could do so safely.
"Replies to Eld. Canright," quoted in this work, is not an answer to this book, but to a few articles I wrote for a paper long before the book was published. The pamphlet itself proves this. The title page is dated "1888," while my book was not published till one year later, 1889. See my title page. Then on page eighty of their pamphlet I read this: "He promises a forthcoming book, by which we presume he designs to sweep away clean everything which his articles have left. It will receive due attention, if thought worthy of it, when it appears." This shows that this "Reply" was no answer to my book. One was promised but never appeared. The book discusses many topics not even mentioned in the articles, and, of course, is much more complete every way. Considering that Adventists are always so ready for debate, discussion and replies, how is it that this book, that has bothered them more than all others which have appeared against them, is so carefully let alone by them? The reason is manifest to all candid people.
And here is what my Advent brethren thought of me before I left them:
"Battle Creek, Mich., July 13, 1881. Brother Canright: * * * I feel more interest in you than in any other man, because I know your worth when the Lord is with you, as a laborer. James White."
"Battle Creek, Mich., May 22, 1881. * * * It is time there was a change of the officers of the General Conference. I trust that if we are true and faithful the Lord will be pleased that we should constitute two of that Board. James White."
"Battle Creek, Mich., Aug. 6, 1884. You have long been with us, and we will all love you. G.I. Butler."
"Martinsburg, Neb., July 14, 1884. You were a power in the world, and did a vast amount of good. * * * We need your help in the work greatly. Your precious talent, if humbly and fully consecrated to God, would be so useful. There are so many places where it would be a great help. G.I. Butler."
Advent Review, March, 1887: "We have felt exceedingly sad to part in our religious connection with one whom we have long esteemed as a dear brother."
Advent Review, March 22, 1887: "In leaving us, he has taken a much more manly and commendable course than most of those who have withdrawn from us, coming voluntarily to our leading brethren, and frankly stating the condition of mind he was in. He did this before his own church, in our presence, and, so far as we know, has taken no unfair, underhanded means to injure us in any way. He goes from our midst with no immoral stain upon his character, chooses associations more pleasant to himself. This is every man's personal privilege if he chooses to take it."
The quotations in my book are from the Adventist books published up to the date when I wrote my book, 1889. Since then most of their books have been reprinted and paged differently. To conform to these books as now paged, I would need to change many of my references. To do this I would have to reprint my whole book, as it is in electrotype plates. A change of a few plates would necessitate a change of all. So it leaves them as they were. The quotations are all there, only some are on a different page in their present editions. I took great care to have every quotation exactly correct. They are reliable.
I design to be perfectly fair towards my Advent brethren. I was with them twenty-eight years, from the age of nineteen to forty-seven, the most active years of my life. I was dearly loved by them and I loved them. I love them now. I have thousands of dear friends among them still. It was a terrible trial to break away from all these tender ties. Even now the tears fall fast as I write these lines. But truth and duty were dearer to me than social ties.
Again I bear them record that they are a sincere, devoted, self-sacrificing people, thoroughly believing what they profess. They have many excellent qualities, and many lovely Christian people among them. Like all churches, they have their full share of undesirable members, not from any immoral teachings, but from human frailty, common in all churches. Daily I pray for them that the Lord may bless all that is good in them and forgive, and, in some way, overrule for good when they are in error. This is all I dare ask for myself.
D. M. CANRIGHT. 1914.
WHEN a prominent man leaves one church or party and joins an opposing one and gives his reasons for it he may expect that his old associates will reply to him. I expected no exception in my case when I renounced Adventism, so have not been disappointed. The great majority of my former brethren have been very friendly to me and treated me kindly. A few, a very few, have done otherwise. Their object has been to counteract my influence against what they regard as God's work. These few have started the report that I have been sorry I left Adventism, that I have said so, have tried to return to them, have confessed that my book was false, and some have said that I was very poor, a physical and mental wreck, with no hope of salvation, etc. These reports are accepted as facts by honest brethren and repeated till they are believed by many Adventists the world over. I have denied them in every possible way, but they are still believed and repeated, and doubtless always will be. I leave God to judge between us.
I now and here for the hundredth time solemnly affirm before God that I renounced Adventism because I believed it to be an error. I have never once regretted that I did so, have never intimated to any one that I have had the least desire to go back to that people. It would be impossible for me to do such a thing and be an honest man. I am now (1915) well in body and mind, have a good home worth $10,000 or $12,000, and have four grown children, of whom any man would be proud. On leaving the Adventists I joined the Baptist church at Otsego, Mich., and became its pastor till it was built up into a prosperous church. They have been my ardent friends to this day. Twenty years ago I moved to Grand Rapids, Mich., took a new mission and built this up, organized it into a church which has become one of the strong churches of the city, having several hundred members with a fine edifice. Have twice been its pastor, always an active member. At present I teach a large adult Bible class every Lord's day and often preach for them. Have always been in perfect harmony with the church. They honor me as their father, consult me on all important matters, and hotly resent the foolish reports which some circulate concerning me.
Out of scores of printed testimonies before me I select only a few which speak for themselves:
"Grand Rapids, Mich., Nov. 1, 1907. "To whom it may concern: "Having received many letters from all parts of the United States from those that have been informed by Adventists that Rev. D.M. Canright was not a member of a Baptist church and many other things pertaining to his character, we very emphatically denounce any such statements and will say that he is now and has been for many years an active member of the Berean Baptist church of this city and twice its pastor, a man above reproach and above all a noble Christian. "Respectfully, W. H. Andrews, former clerk and charter member of the above named church. I hereby certify to the above. "REV. ROBERT GRAY, "Pastor of the Berean Church."
"Grand Rapids, Mich., April 9, 1910. "To whom it may concern, world wide: "DEAR BRETHREN: "This letter is to say that Rev. D.M. Canright has been known to the undersigned for many years as an earnest, consecrated Christian man, and a true minister of Jesus Christ. He has been 'a faithful and true witness' against the errors of the Seventh-Day Adventists in his books and tracts for many years. "OLIVER W. VAN OSDEL, "Moderator Grand River Valley Association. "ALEXANDER DODDS, "President City Baptist Mission Society. "W.I. COBURN, "President Baptist Ministers' Conference."
The Baptists are not the only people who think well of the Rev. Mr. Canright. A Congregational minister adds his word: "This certifies that I have been acquainted with the Rev. D.M. Canright of this city for more than forty-five years. At least twenty years of that time he was an Adventist preacher, and during those years his reputation as a Christian man and as a preacher of rare ability was of the highest order. His name among the Adventist people of this state was of the highest order. His name among the Adventist people of this state was a household word for righteousness of character, and an able defender of their faith. And when he left the Adventist denomination, all who knew the man, if they were at all imbued with the Christian spirit, must admit that the change made by him was due to a candid, conscientious conviction of what he believed to be right. There could be no other motive in his case, for he was successful beyond many of his brethren, and honored by them in the highest degree. For at least twenty years he and his beloved family have lived in this city and he has maintained the same reputation that he had, as a Christian gentleman and respected citizen. What I have written is from personal knowledge of Rev. D.M. Canright and of the Adventist denomination in this state. "J. T. HUSTED, "Pastor of the Wallin Congregational Church. "Grand Rapid, Mich., April 12, 1910."
The Methodist pastors add their tribute as follows: "Various inquiries having come to the different members of the Association concerning the character and standing of Rev. D.M. Canright, the regular monthly meeting of the Methodist Ministers' Association of Grand Rapids, Mich., did, by an unanimous vote, adopt the following expression of its confidence in and regard for the personal worth and ministerial usefulness of Brother Canright. "Rev. D.M. Canright, formerly a minister in the Seventh-Day Adventist Association, more recently a minister in the Baptist Association of this city, has been known by some of our, number in person for several years and by reputation by the rest, and all our knowledge and information concerning him are of the most favorable kind. "Any reflections on his personal character as a man, a husband, a citizen, a son or a Christian are without foundation, in fact, are unwarranted by any facts known to his intimate acquaintances. He is honored among his brethren, respected in his own community, and is commended by us as being worthy of confidence and trust. He has had an honored and useful ministry, and in no sense is deserving of the attacks made on him. "Done at Grand Rapids, Mich., this 11th day of April 1910, by the authority of the Grand Rapids Methodist Ministers' Association, by "JOHN R. T. LATHROP, District Supt. "CHARLES NEASE, President. "J. R. WOOTEN, Secretary."
"Grand Rapids, Mich., April 11, 1910. "It is with sincere pleasure that I write concerning the character and integrity of the Rev. D.M. Canright. I have known him and his family a good many years, and do not hesitate to say that they are very estimable people, and have the confidence of their neighbors and friends in the community. "I consider Mr. Canright a Christian gentleman in every sense of the word; a man of the highest integrity and one who desires, in every project with which he is connected, to make righteousness his guide to action. "He has done business with our bank for a good many years and I have personally had reason to test his integrity and am unequivocal in my express of confidence in him. "Very truly yours, "CHARLES W. GARFIELD." (Mr. Garfield is president of a bank with $2,000,000.)
Adventists sometimes say I left them four or five times. I withdrew from that church just once, no more, that was final. Their church records at Battle Creek and Otsego will show that. For years I was troubled with doubts about some of their doctrines and three times stopped preaching for a period, but remained a member in good standing. At a large campmeeting I was persuaded to swallow my doubts, take up the work again, confess that I had been in the dark, and go on again. I yielded judgment to the entreaties of my brethren and the love I had for old associates and said what I soon regretted. I found it a terrible struggle to break away from what had held me so long.
Since I left them they try to make it appear that I did not amount to much anyway. "Sour grapes," said the fox to the delicious fruit which he could not reach! As a refutation of their detractions, see Chapter II of my book. I will here state only a few facts briefly:
During two years, 1876, 1877, I was one of the general conference committee of three which had control of all their work in the world. There is no higher authority in the denomination. How did it happen that I was placed in that office if I was not one of their best men? Year after year I was elected on the boards having charge of their most important institutions, such as their Publishing House, College, Sanitarium, Sabbath School Association, etc., etc. For proof of this see their printed year books. where my name appear constantly. I was made theological teacher in their college, president of a state conference, associate editor of a paper, etc. I selected and arranged the course of reading which all their ministers had to follow, and I was sent to the annual state conferences to examine these preachers in those studies, in their theology, and in their fitness for the ministry. Is such work usually committed to an inferior man?
But it was as a writer in their papers, as the author of numerous tracts, pamphlets and books covering nearly every controverted point of their faith, as a lecturer and debater in defense of their doctrines, that I was the best known during the last fifteen years I was with them. In these lines, not a man among them stood as prominent as I did. Every one at all familiar with their work during that period knows that I tell only the simple truth in the case. They know it, too. For my writings the office once paid me $500 in one check and many other times different sums. After twenty-seven years they still publish and use several of my tracts as being better than anything they have been able to produce since.
My long and thorough acquaintance with Adventism and all their arguments prepared me to answer them as no other could. Hundreds of ministers from all parts have written me their thanks for the aid my book has been to them in meeting Adventism. Did not God in his providence prepare me for this work? I humbly believe he did, and this reconciles me to the long, and bitter experiences I had in that bondage. But if God and the truth is honored, I am content.
The only question is, do I know their doctrines well enough to state them clearly, and have I the ability to answer them plainly? Let my work be the answer.
Since I withdrew Adventists have published five or six different tracts to head off my influence. If I amount to so little, why all this effort? What they do refutes what they say. God has preserved me to outlive nearly all the Adventist ministers with whom I began laboring. At seventy-five am full of faith in God and the hope of eternal life through our lord Jesus Christ.
I love those brethren still and know that most of them are honest Christian people, but in error on many of their views. I would be glad to help them if I could.
D. M. CANRIGHT, Pastor Emeritus of the Berean Baptist Church. Grand Rapids, Michigan.