Ellet Joseph Waggoner: The Myth and the Man, is especially relevant to those who are examining the various
conflicts and strains of Adventist thought that grew out of the
opposition to the book Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrines.
It is significant, not only
because it analyses the teachings of E J Waggoner, and carefully
chronicles his slide from a proponent of righteousness by faith into
mystical and even pantheistic views of salvation, but also because it
represents a significant turning point in the views of Robert Brinsmead.
Since both Brinsmead's and Waggoner's names come
up in discussions of the issues raised at the Conference held at the 50th anniversary of
QOD, it is fitting that we take a serious look at this book.
The title page of the book lists "David P. McMahon And the
Editorial Staff of Verdict Publications" as the authors of the
book. Private correspondence with McMahon gave the information that
he regarded himself as only the researcher, with the actual writing
being done by others... probably by Robert Brinsmead himself.
Assuming this to be true, this gives us a look into what must have
been a very significant factor in the process whereby Brinsmead dropped
the "mystical perfection" of his early "Sanctuary
Awakening" message, and moved to his "righteousness by
faith" stage. It also strongly suggests that Brinsmead's
earlier teachings were heavily dependent upon the doctrines as taught by
Waggoner.... those things which he explicitly describes and
rejects in the final chapter, "Waggoner in Retrospect".
We would do well to heed the warnings implicit in this book's analysis....
especially those which have to do with current theories of salvation
that have their roots in the errors of the later Waggoner.