For early Advent believers, so-called "present truth" was dynamic. And indeed, as the few hundred Sabbatarian Adventists of the 1840s grew to 3,000 by 1863 when the Seventh-day Adventist Church was officially established, their doctrinal understanding underwent no less striking changes.
Early on, pioneers such as James White were fervent in their call to "come out of Babylon." At first, this was a message to leave organized religion and return to gospel simplicity.
This doesn't surprise religious historians, who have observed that every few generations, people feel compelled to go back to the fundamentals of their faith. Indeed, this trend fueled the Second Great Awakening.
But what is striking, Trim says, is the reversal White pulls as the movement expanded. By 1859, James had come to believe that the call to "come out of Babylon" actually meant to leave disorganization and accept church structure.
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