At the same time we'll try to avoid getting bogged down with the question of which day Christians should worship on, and just examine the facts surrounding this criticism of Ellen G. White.
Charge A: "Little-known" Joseph Bates & the "Heretofore Unrecognized Heresy"
We'll quote from Dirk Anderson for this first part. While Dirk later discusses where he felt that Ellen White got things wrong, he first makes the case that Ellen White's ideas originated with an obscure sea captain in the 1840's named Joseph Bates:
Perhaps it is true that Joseph Bates knew less Greek and Hebrew than Dirk knows. We don't really know for sure. But we do know that Dirk is wrong when he credits Joseph Bates with pointing out this "single heretofore unrecognized heresy."
Bates got the idea that Sunday worship was contrary to Scripture from former Baptist preacher Thomas M. Preble in 1846. Preble apparently got that idea in 1844 from a Methodist minister named Frederick Wheeler. And Wheeler picked up the idea that same year from a Seventh Day Baptist named Rachel Oakes. How long have Seventh Day Baptists been around? They arrived in America from England by 1665, and organized their first church here in 1671.
Unlike Bates, Seventh Day Baptists weren't all nobody sea captains, if we stoop to making such characterizations. For example, Dr. Peter Chamberlen (1601-1683) served as the English court physician for King James I and Queen Anne, King Charles I and Queen Mary, and King Charles II and Queen Katherine. His tombstone goes on to say that he also served foreign princes, "having travelled most partes of Europe, & speaking most of the Languages."
Other examples of distinguished Seventh Day Baptists would include father and son Richard and Samuel Ward, both of whom served as governors of Rhode Island. Samuel also was a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1774-1776, and would likely have signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th if he had not died the previous March. Samuel's other accomplishments include being a trustee of Brown University from 1764-1776, as well as one of its founders, and serving as chief justice of Rhode Island in 1761 and 1762.
Dr. Chamberlen's views are particularly interesting. By 1677 he had written Archbishop Sheldon about "the Little Triple Crowned Horn's Change of Times and Lawes," mentioning at the same time, "Escape the Mark of the Beast: & Return to the Keeping of the Lawes of God."—Leroy Froom, Prophetic Faith, vol. 4, p. 913.
Chamberlen was not the only Seventh Day Baptist to sound such an alarm. In seeking to refute the views of these Seventh Day Baptists, Edmund Warren wrote in 1659:
Joseph Bates wasn't born until 1792, well after Richard and Samuel Ward, Dr. Chamberlen, and Thomas Tillam had long been dead. Even without investigating the various sabbath-keeping groups that preceded these American and English Seventh Day Baptists, we know for certain that what Joseph Bates taught about the popes' change of the Sabbath to Sunday was not "heretofore unrecognized."
But notice Thomas Tillam's use of Daniel 7:25. Like almost all other Protestants of his day, Tillam identified the little horn of Daniel 7 as being the Roman papal power. Verse 25 says:
Since the only one of the Ten Commandments that has to do with time is the Sabbath commandment, and since the only one of the Ten that the popes thought they had changed was that very one, Tillam's position of the 1650's does seem logical. After all, the Lutherans more than a century before him in 1530 had already noted: