William A. Spicer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
William Ambrose Spicer
Born December 19, 1865
Freeborn, Minnesota
Died October 17, 1952 (1952-10-18) (aged 86)
Takoma Park, Maryland
Occupation Protestant, Seventh-day Adventist president
Years active 70 years
Known for Writing, travels, leadership
Notable work Our Day in the Light of Prophecy, Miracles of Modern Missions, Certainties of the Advent Movement
Parent(s) Ambrose Coates Spicer
and Susanne Coon
(Seventh-day Baptists)

William Ambrose Spicer (December 19, 1865 – October 17, 1952) was a Seventh-day Adventist minister and president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.[1] He was born December 19, 1865 in Freeborn, Minnesota in the United States in a Seventh-day Baptist home.[2] Spicer worked for the church in the United States, England and India, where Spicer College is named after him. He served as Secretary of the General Conference during the presidency of A. G. Daniells and Daniells served as the Secretary during Spicer's years as President. The two men led the Adventist Church for the first 30 years of the 20th century.


Spicer's responsibilities with the church during this time included assisting Stephen Haskell as his secretary. This led 22-year-old Spicer to England. There he gained experience as an editor of The Present Truth and in assisting with evangelistic campaigns.[3] In 1892, he returned to the United States and served as Secretary of the recently established (1889) Foreign Missions Board. This began decades of Spicer's leadership in the SDA Church's mission development.[4]

W. A. Spicer: 1898 in India. (Second from the right in back row.)

In 1898, Spicer worked in India as editor of the Oriental Watchman.[2]

Secretary of the General Conference, 1903–1922[edit]

As Secretary to the General Conference, Spicer assisted President Daniells in shaping the church's response to issues. Daniell's crises were met often in collaboration with Spicer: the reorganization of the church accomplished at the 1901 and 1903 General Conference sessions; the denominational dispute between Daniells and Kellogg; racial issues arising; etc.

Spicer and Daniells led the church in a strong mission emphasis. New opportunities brought about the reorganization of existing institutions and the creation of new ones.[4] Spicer viewed these opportunities to spread the Adventist "message" as a sign of fulfilled prophecy. In 1914, he reported to the SDA world church, "... And the same living God who launched the definite advent movement on its way at the exact time of the prophecy (1844), began at the same time in a special way to open the doors of access to 'every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.' We have seen the way open again and again immediately before our own feet as the heralds of the third angel's message have entered the various lands."[5]

Spicer reported on the conflict between Kellogg and the General Conference leadership. He met with Kellogg to discuss what was considered pantheistic ideas.[6]

The Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement had come about as a result of the actions of L. R. Conradi and certain European church leaders during the war, who decided that it was acceptable for Adventists to take part in war, which was in clear opposition to the historical position of the church that had always upheld the non-combative position. Since the American Civil War, Adventists were known as non-combatants, and had done work in hospitals or given medical care rather than taken combat roles.[7] The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists sent Spicer to investigate the changes. He was unable to resolve the schism.[1][8][9]

President of the General Conference, 1922–1930[edit]

With the experience acquired as General Conference Secretary, Spicer was elected as president of the General Conference during the 1922 General Conference session. He continued with the church’s mission commitment which led to a further expansion of the Adventist message throughout the world. He was known in the church as an enthusiastic editor and successful author an influential preacher, proficient organizer and a passionate missionary.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald. 1996. pp. 266–267. ISBN 0-8280-0918-X. 
  2. ^ a b Spalding, Arthur Whitefield (1962). Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, Volume Two (PDF). Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald. pp. 29–30. 
  3. ^ Robinson, Ella M. (1967). S. N. Haskel, Man of Action. Washington: Review and Herald Pub. Association, Teach Services 2004. p. 93. ISBN 1-57258-282-0. 
  4. ^ a b Knight, G. R. (1999). A brief history of Seventh-Day Adventists. Review and Herald. pp. 130, 131. ISBN 978-0-8280-1430-4. 
  5. ^ Spicer, W. A. (April 20, 1914). "Open Doors in the Mission Fields a Sign of the End (Reading for Monday, May 4)" (PDF). Australasian Record. Wahroonga, Australia: Australasian Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. 18 (16, 17): 10, 11. Retrieved October 21, 2011. 
  6. ^ How the Spirit of Prophecy Met a Crisis: Memories and Notes of the "Living Temple" Controversy by W. A. Spicer
  7. ^ http://www.sidadventist.org/lead/index.php/resources/essent/89-leadership
  8. ^ http://www.imssdarm-bg.org/content/view/185/66/
  9. ^ "Faith of Our Fathers. 1914–1918 - The Great Crisis". Seventh-day Adventist Reformed Movement. Retrieved October 1, 2011. 
  10. ^ Iglesia Adventista del Séptimo Día (1994). Nuestra Herencia: Curso de Historia denominacional (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Buenos Aires: Asociación Casa Editora Sudamericana. p. 156. ISBN 950-573-388-7. 

External links[edit]

Books by W. A. Spicer
Preceded by
A. G. Daniells
President of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Succeeded by
Charles H. Watson
Preceded by
W. W. Prescott
Editor of the Adventist Review
Succeeded by
F. M. Wilcox
Preceded by
F. M. Wilcox
Editor of the Adventist Review
1945 (for six months)
Succeeded by
Francis D. Nichol